While he might not be the most overpowering or proficient fighter out there, Nate Diaz remains one of the most famous facepunchers signed to UFC due to his unreservedly violent fighting style, toughness, and wildly unpredictable behavior inside and outside of the Octagon. As Diaz turns 35 years old today, let's take a look back at the five wildest moments that define Diaz's career in MMA.
5. Smoking a Joint During UFC 241 Open Workouts
Rather than entertain the fans with his physical ability during public workouts ahead of his UFC 241 clash with Anthony Pettis, Diaz, who has been known to be a bit of a marijuana aficionado, decided to pull out what he later claimed was a totally legal CBD joint and blow the residual smoke in fans' faces. Right on cue, those in attendance merrily went crazy at the rebellious Diaz's act of defiance. Diaz later returned to the Octagon in grand style by beating Pettis via unanimous decision.
4. "I Ain't Surprised" After Beating Conor McGregor
Diaz became the first fighter to absorb Conor McGregor's knockout blows, shrug them off, and retaliate with vicious punches of his own. Covered in blood, Diaz submitted McGregor to hand the Irish superstar his first UFC loss at the height of his popularity, and he punctuated his upset with an immortal set of quotes in his post-fight interview. Their rematch didn't go his way, but his swaggering victory at UFC 196 will live on forever.
3. Smoking a CBD Pen Hours After A Fight And Getting Suspended
After losing to McGregor in a vicious second fight that went down until the final seconds of the final round, Diaz committed a USADA violation by smoking a CBD pen hours afterward; at the time, even non-pyschoactive cannabidiol in a fighter's system would trigger a failed test. This was the beginning of a long stretch of animosity between Diaz and UFC boss Dana White, which is part of the reason that Diaz didn't fight for two whole years.
2. The Infamous Strikeforce Riot of 2010
After Strikeforce fighter Jason Miller confronted middleweight Jake Shields after a five-round fight to tell him that they should get a rematch worked out, Nate and brother Nick entered the ring and started an all-out melee, landing several hard punches and kicks before CBS cut away to commercial. Strikeforce never aired on CBS again after this, and UFC bought the promotion the following year. MMA great Frank Shamrock claims this changed the future of the sport, as he thinks it ended the possibility of MMA ever being featured in primetime on a broadcast network.
1. Flipping Off Kurt Pellegrino In The Middle of a Fight
Nothing says you're a bad, bad man and the kind of maverick who doesn't care what anyone thinks like gloating to the crowd and flipping the bird to your opponent during a fight. After Kurt Pellegrino knocked Diaz to the ground during their 2008 showdown, Diaz landed in a way that allowed him to submit Pellegrino via triangle choke. Before Pellegrino tapped, Diaz was seen flexing to the crowd before giving his foe the ol' two-finger salute and making him tap out. This moment was the perfect ullstration of Diaz's inimitable, DGAF style inside the cage.