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5 times that Nate Diaz embarrassed his opponent in the UFC

Nate Diaz has a history of embarrassing his opponents inside the UFC
Nate Diaz has a history of embarrassing his opponents inside the UFC
Scott Newman
SENIOR ANALYST

One of the most polarizing yet popular fighters in UFC history, Nate Diaz makes his return to the octagon at UFC 263 this weekend to take on Leon Edwards.

Nate Diaz has been with the UFC since 2007, and over his years with the promotion, he has picked up some huge wins over some of the UFC’s biggest names.

But more to the point, Diaz’s confrontational style and reckless attitude have also meant that he has completely embarrassed his opponents in some of his wins.

With that in mind, here are five times that Nate Diaz has embarrassed his opponent inside the UFC.


#5 Nate Diaz vs. Kurt Pellegrino – UFC Fight Night 13

Nate Diaz thoroughly embarrassed Kurt Pellegrino by submitting him - and flipping him off in the process
Nate Diaz thoroughly embarrassed Kurt Pellegrino by submitting him - and flipping him off in the process

Everyone who watched Nate Diaz on the fifth season of The Ultimate Fighter – a season he won – knew all about the Stockton native's confrontational attitude.

But those fans who didn't watch the reality show were given an early glimpse of it in just his fourth fight in the promotion.

Faced with renowned grappler Kurt Pellegrino, Diaz appeared to be at a stylistic disadvantage. Not only was 'Batman' a strong wrestler, but he was also a highly credentialed Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt.

That didn't matter to Diaz, though. Despite being out-grappled in the first round, he came out fired up in the second. He even landed a judo throw on his opponent.

When Pellegrino returned the favor with a slam, Diaz surprised him by locking up a perfect triangle choke.

It was immediately clear that Pellegrino was in trouble. And as he was on the verge of going to sleep, Diaz gave the UFC fans an image that would define him for a long time – he flexed at his opponent and then flipped him off just as he submitted.

It was classic Diaz fare – a rare mix of skill and bad attitude – and to say it must've embarrassed Pellegrino would be an understatement.


#4 Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor – UFC 196

Nate Diaz handed Conor McGregor his first UFC loss in embarrassing fashion
Nate Diaz handed Conor McGregor his first UFC loss in embarrassing fashion

Prior to UFC 196, Conor McGregor seemed invincible in the octagon.

Not only had he blown through the likes of Chad Mendes and Dustin Poirier, but he'd also become the first man in over a decade to defeat Jose Aldo – snatching his UFC featherweight title in the process.

UFC 196 was supposed to mark his crowning achievement, as he was set to fight Rafael dos Anjos in an attempt to become the first man to hold two UFC titles simultaneously.

But when the UFC lightweight champ dropped out, Nate Diaz stepped in on late notice – and things changed entirely.

Not only did McGregor's trash talk seemingly not work against Diaz, whose devil-may-care attitude served him perfectly, but the fight was also a worrying clash of styles for the Irishman.

After a first round that saw 'The Notorious' land some bombs that failed to hurt Diaz, it was clear that the fight was only going one way.

Sure enough, Diaz began to tee off on an exhausted McGregor in the second round before submitting him with a rear-naked choke after a sloppy takedown attempt.

It was the biggest win of Diaz's UFC career – and his proclamation after the fight that "I'm not surprised, mother*cker" only added to the embarrassment for McGregor, who'd lost badly to a fighter stepping in on late notice.

McGregor would defeat Diaz in a rematch, but it's the first fight between the two that everyone really remembers, and for good reason.


#3 Nate Diaz vs. Donald Cerrone – UFC 141

Nate Diaz got into Donald Cerrone
Nate Diaz got into Donald Cerrone's head - and then dominated him in their fight at UFC 141

Donald Cerrone is renowned as one of the UFC's most cordial fighters, a man who tends to shake hands with his opponent before and after their fight despite showing ferocity inside the octagon.

That's why it was an immediate shock to him when Nate Diaz decided to knock his cowboy hat off his head and flip him off during a pre-fight staredown at the weigh-in for UFC 141.

The gesture immediately got into Cerrone's head, and when they stepped into the octagon, it was clear that Cowboy was rattled – even flipping Diaz off in return didn't help him.

Cerrone made the fatal mistake of looking to trade with Diaz – one of the UFC's sharpest boxers – and was hurt in the first exchange of the fight.

From there, Diaz simply teed off on him for the majority of their three rounds, breaking his jaw in the process.

It was an embarrassing loss for Cerrone, who couldn't really get anything done in the fight despite landing a couple of strong leg kicks.

Essentially, Diaz got into his head, threw him off his gameplan, and took full advantage – picking up one of the biggest UFC wins of his career.


#2 Nate Diaz vs. Michael Johnson – UFC on FOX 17

Nate Diaz scored a come-from-behind win over Michael Johnson after getting into his head in 2015
Nate Diaz scored a come-from-behind win over Michael Johnson after getting into his head in 2015

When Nate Diaz returned to the UFC to face Michael Johnson in late 2015, it was hard to know what to expect.

Diaz hadn't fought in the UFC in a year, and hadn't won in two years. His previous fight had seen him dismantled by Rafael dos Anjos, who abused 'The Stockton Slugger' with leg kicks and even landed the better punches.

Johnson clearly intended to replicate that gameplan, and he won the first round of the fight by using his swift footwork and, as Dos Anjos had done, landing leg kicks.

But in the second round, Diaz turned up the heat by pressuring Johnson with his boxing game, and more importantly, he began to taunt 'The Menace.'

Johnson was immediately suckered into Diaz's trap and became angry, looking to fight fire with fire. Any technical advantage he had went right out of the window as he chose to trade punches with Diaz, whose longer reach allowed him to land the more telling blows.

By the end of the second round, it was clear that the momentum lay with Diaz, and he continued to pick Johnson off in the final round, even looking for a kneebar after the final buzzer to rub salt into Johnson's wounds.

This was an embarrassing loss for Johnson, not only because he'd lost to a man who hadn't fought in a year, but because he'd seemingly thrown away a fight he was winning – all because he allowed Nate Diaz to get into his head.


#1 Nate Diaz vs. Marcus Davis – UFC 118

Nate Diaz embraced his inner villain against Marcus Davis - and got cheered anyway
Nate Diaz embraced his inner villain against Marcus Davis - and got cheered anyway

Nate Diaz has never shied away from playing the UFC villain, which was particularly the case at UFC 118.

The show marked the UFC’s debut in Boston, and Diaz was faced with Marcus Davis – a proud Irish-American. The latter appealed greatly to the substantial Irish-American contingent in attendance at the show.

Diaz was booed upon his arrival, but unsurprisingly, Stockton’s favorite son didn’t seem at all fazed.

Instead, he embraced his villainy, taunting Davis from the off in order to throw the vaunted boxer off his gameplan and draw him into a brawl.

It was the kind of fight Davis was never going to win. After taking some huge shots that swelled his right eye practically shut, the fans changed their tune and began to cheer for Diaz as he channeled his inner Muhammad Ali by slapping Davis around with combinations.

Eventually, a beaten and battered Davis succumbed to a guillotine choke from Diaz, who strangled him unconscious to win in the third round.

It was a massive victory for Nate Diaz – and a hugely embarrassing loss for Davis, who not only lost in front of his own fans, but found them cheering for his opponent, too.

Edited by Utathya Ghosh
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