Nate Diaz's 5 most memorable UFC fights
Love him or hate him, there’s no denying that Nate Diaz is one of the biggest superstars on the UFC roster right now. And the announcement last week that the native of Stockton, California is returning in November to face off with red-hot Lightweight contender Dustin Poirier caused the internet to go simply insane.
A polarizing figure for as long as he’s been in the UFC, Diaz is actually one of the most tenured fighters on the roster – he made his debut back in 2007, winning Season 5 of The Ultimate Fighter, and has stepped into the Octagon a further 22 times since. Along the way he’s had major wins, poor losses, and some seriously memorable fights.
Here are 5 of Diaz’s most memorable UFC outings.
#1 vs. Kurt Pellegrino – UFC Fight Night 13 – 04/02/2008
It’s quite easy to forget that while Diaz won his season of TUF, it was actually in fluke-like fashion as after a back-and-forth first round, opponent Manny Gamburyan was forced to tap out after re-aggravating an existing shoulder injury. Diaz did win his next two fights impressively – submitting Junior Assuncao and Alvin Robinson – but in early 2008 the jury was still largely out over whether he could cut it at the elite level.
At Fight Night 13, we found out. Diaz was faced with his toughest opponent to date in Kurt Pellegrino – 3-1 in the UFC, a superior wrestler and a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt who was more highly credentialed than the Stockton scrapper. And in the first round, Pellegrino’s experience appeared to be telling, as despite being an even round when it came to grappling, ‘Batman’ was the one doing all of the damage with his ground-based striking.
Diaz came out for the second round looking fired up, though, and immediately looked to impose his striking on the veteran. After being taken down by Pellegrino, Diaz managed to reverse to his feet and appeared to have his opponent hurt with some punches. Pellegrino responded with a slam, only to land directly into a tight triangle choke.
Moments later, Pellegrino was forced to weakly tap out, but it was the nature of the finish that makes this a classic Diaz moment. Rather than pull on Pellegrino’s head as is customary for a fighter looking to tighten a triangle choke, Diaz evidently decided the choke was already tight enough. And so he gave a double bicep-flex to the camera....before flipping Pellegrino off.
After this win, there was no doubt that Diaz was ready for the elite level, and there was no doubt about his wild attitude, too. The finish remains one of the most memorable in UFC history over a decade on.