Nick Diaz: The Hard Hitting Career of the MMA Star


Nick Diaz

Nick Diaz is a famous American mixed martial artist who has competed across different promotions in the country. Aside from spending time with the UFC, he has also competed for other promotions like PRIDE, Strikeforce, EliteXC, World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC), DREAM, and Shooto. Let’s find out more about the illustrious career of this accomplished MMA star.

Nick Diaz: Career Snapshot

When did Nick Diaz turn professional?

Diaz became a professional mixed martial arts fighter in 2001 just after his 18th birthday and won his first fight, submitting Mike Wick with a triangle choke at IFC Warriors Challenge 15. Diaz became a champion in his second professional fight, defeating Chris Lytle for the IFC Welterweight Championship in July 2002 at IFC Warriors Challenge 17.

Diaz was then invited to participate in Ultimate Athlete’s King of the Mountain, a single-night tournament that took place two months later. He won his first two fights but eventually lost in the finals to Jeremy Jackson by TKO. Diaz fought in Warriors Quest and Shooto against Harris “Hitman” Sarmiento and Kuniyoshi Hironaka respectively before defending his IFC Welterweight Championship and winning the WEC Welterweight Championship in 2003 at WEC 6, submitting Joe Hurley with a kimura.

When did Nick Diaz join the UFC?

Taking notice of his success, the UFC signed Diaz over the summer and he made his debut at UFC 44, completing the trilogy against Jackson and submitting him with an armbar in the last round of a back-and-forth fight that Diaz appeared to be winning on the scorecards.

Nick Diaz made his return against highly touted future EliteXC Middleweight Champion Robbie Lawler during UFC 47. Lawler was a heavy favorite coming into the fight but it was Diaz who took the offensive, chasing Lawler around the cage for the majority of the bout. In the second round, Diaz taunted Lawler, who swung wildly and missed, allowing Diaz to connect with a right hook that knocked Lawler out. Diaz was then matched up with judoka Karo Parisyan at UFC 49, but ended up losing a hard-fought split decision. He rebounded with wins over submission specialist Drew Fickett at UFC 51 and Koji Oishi at UFC 53 before losing for the second time in the UFC at the hands of The Ultimate Fighter Middleweight winner Diego Sanchez at The Ultimate Fighter 2 Finale.

Diaz was confident coming into the bout but was unable to achieve success in the match, ultimately losing to Sanchez by unanimous decision. During the televised post-fight interview in the octagon, Diaz continued the controversy by declaring that he respected Sanchez’s fighting ability but did not think he deserved to be there, despite Sanchez’s win. Diaz’s next fight was against Joe Riggs at UFC 57. Similar to his treatment of Sanchez, Diaz made sure that he taunted his opponent plenty before their fight starting at the official press conference at the event in which Diaz confronted Riggs and the two exchanged words. They continued their conversation at the official weigh-ins in which both fighters had to be separated by UFC president Dana White and other officials present.

Riggs prevailed in a hard-fought battle, winning by unanimous decision and giving Diaz his second straight loss.  After the fight, the two were taken to the hospital for observation and post-fight tests, where they had yet another scuffle.  Diaz lost his third consecutive match in a unanimous decision to future UFC Lightweight Champion Sean Sherk at UFC 59.

Diaz returned to his hometown of Stockton and participated in the International Cage Fighting Organization’s inaugural event, defeating Ray Steinbeiss by unanimous decision. Diaz was slated to fight in his hometown again against Canadian John Alessio when he received an unexpected call the night before the fight from the UFC asking to fill in for an ill Thiago Alves at UFC 62.

After Alessio pulled out, Diaz took advantage of the opportunity, submitting veteran Josh Neer in the third round. Seemingly back in the UFC, Diaz stopped Brazilian newcomer Gleison Tibau with strikes in his next fight at UFC 65. However, even after the win and the reassurance that the UFC would give him another fight, Diaz decided to sign with the Gracie Fighting Championships and leave the UFC. GFC had Diaz scheduled to fight Thomas Denny in January 2007, but due to poor ticket sales the event was ultimately scrapped.

Nick Diaz: Pride FC Career

Diaz was signed to a two-fight deal with the PRIDE Fighting Championships with the first scheduled to be against Lightweight Champion Takanori Gomi in a non-title fight on February 24 in Las Vegas. PRIDE 33 was Diaz’s first fight in the PRIDE organization and at the weight of 160 lb. Early in the second round, the fight was stopped to check a cut suffered under Diaz’s eye. The second stanza saw a continuation of wild punches by Gomi, then eventually taking the fight to the ground and leaving himself open to a Gogoplata submission by Diaz and tapping at 1:46 of the round.

When did Nick Diaz fail a drug test?

Nick Diaz failed a drug test on April 10, 2007 when he tested positive for Marijuana. His win was vacated and the NSAC declared the fight a “No Contest” and suspended him for 6 months with a fine of 20% of his earnings ($3,000) won from the fight against Gomi.Commission Chairman Dr. Tony Alamo said that while a result of 15 is considered positive, the NSAC has a threshold of 50 for athletes. Diaz’ results came up with a staggering 175. Dr. Alamo went on to say that “he feels very comfortable that everyone that tests positive in Nevada is truly positive. Mr. Diaz was 175. This creates a unique situation. I was there at this fight and believe that you were intoxicated and… that it made you numb to the pain. Did it help you win? I think it did.” Despite Diaz being surrounded by other athletes and video cameras for several hours before the fight, Alamo gave no explanation for why he believed Diaz had used marijuana in the hours preceding the event. Diaz himself dismissed the assertion that marijuana was a Performance-enhancing drug, or that he was smoking it prior to the fight.

Nick Diaz: EliteXC Career

Diaz made his debut for EliteXC in Hawaii on September 15, 2007 on Showtime. He won a hard-fought split decision over his opponent Mike Aina. MMA Weekly reported that Nick Diaz signed a two-year deal with EliteXC and in his next fight, fought striking specialist KJ Noons for the vacant 160 pound title. Once the fight began, the two exchanged rather evenly on the feet until Noons dropped Diaz with a well timed right counterpunch. Diaz attempted several takedowns, all of which were stuffed by Noons, on one occasion with a swift right knee which opened up a notable gash on Diaz’s face, eventually resulting in a loss via doctor stoppage due to multiple cuts on his forehead. A disappointed Diaz left the arena immediately and on his way out he flipped off the doctor from the arena entrance and shoved the camera out of his face.

Nick Diaz: Strikeforce and DREAM Career

Diaz was victorious in DREAM 3, defeating Katsuya Inoue by TKO in the first round. With Strikeforce’s acquisition of ProElite’s assets, CEO Scott Coker had announced that Nick would face off against MMA legend Frank Shamrock at a Catchweight of 179 lb, at their upcoming event, Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Diaz, in Shamrock’s hometown of San Jose on April 11 at the HP Pavilion. Nick was successful in the fight, defeating Shamrock via TKO due to strikes in the second round. Throughout the fight, Diaz was dominant in all areas using effective positioning on the ground, once mounting Frank in the end of the first round, before finally finishing the fight in the second round with a body shot that crumpled Frank to the mat and follow up punches before referee John McCarthy called a halt to the bout. In the interview he stated “It’s hard to hate the guy, he’s been doing what I’ve been wanting to do and saying what I’ve wanted to say for a long time”.

Diaz faced Strikeforce newcomer and then-DREAM Welterweight Champion Marius Žaromskis to crown the first Strikeforce Welterweight Champion on January 30, 2010 at Strikeforce: Miami. Žaromskis came out aggressively and the two men exchanged on the feet until Diaz tied his opponent up in the clinch and landed numerous knees to Žaromskis’ right leg. Diaz then scored a takedown and looked for a guillotine choke – quickly shrugged off by his opponent. The two men continued to exchange, with Diaz utilizing his unorthodox boxing skills, until rocked by a Žaromskis left hook and falling to his back. Žaromskis landed a few effective shots while Diaz was “turtled” on the floor, allowing him to recover and stand back up. Diaz showcased his superior boxing abilities and tagged his opponent many times, prompting the referee to stop the fight at 4:38 of the first round. Diaz was then crowned the inaugural Strikeforce Welterweight Champion.

Diaz defeated former PRIDE veteran Hayato Sakurai by armbar submission in a non-title bout at DREAM 14. Diaz defeated KJ Noons in a rematch of their 2007 bout for the Strikeforce Welterweight Championship. Diaz defeated English fighter Paul Daley at Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley via TKO (punches) at 4:57 of round 1, and became the first Strikeforce fighter to successfully defend the Strikeforce Welterweight Champion three consecutive times.

Nick Diaz: Return to the UFC

UFC president Dana White stated that a matchup between Diaz and UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre was a possible consideration. Diaz and St-Pierre were rumored to be the next coaches for The Ultimate Fighter 14 reality show, but the show debuted on September 21, 2011, with Michael Bisping and Jason Miller as coaches. White later confirmed via Twitter that Diaz would face St-Pierre at UFC 137 at the Mandalay Bay Event Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, on October 29, 2011. Nick Diaz vacated his Strikeforce Welterweight Championship title prior to his bout with Georges St-Pierre. Dana White made the decision to take Diaz out of the fight and replace him with former WEC Welterweight Champion and future UFC Interim Welterweight Champion Carlos Condit, due to Diaz missing multiple flights for a press event to support the fight. It was announced that Diaz would fight B.J. Penn in the main event at his original fight card, UFC 137. Diaz won via unanimous decision. Diaz called out St. Pierre in the post-fight interview, who was scheduled to fight Condit at the same event but had been forced out of the bout with a knee injury.

When did Nick Diaz announce his retirement for the first time?

Following his successful return, Diaz was expected to face Georges St-Pierre for the UFC Welterweight Championship at UFC 143 during Super Bowl weekend. However, due to an ACL injury sustained by St-Pierre, Diaz faced Carlos Condit in the main event, with the winner being awarded an Interim UFC Welterweight Championship. Condit defeated Diaz via unanimous decision. Upset with the result of the fight, Diaz indicated that he was retiring from the sport.

After the event UFC President Dana White said that he believed Diaz would fight again. Diaz was briefly linked to a rematch with Condit, but was quickly refuted when Diaz tested positive for marijuana metabolites in a post-fight drug test. The Nevada State Athletic Commission temporarily suspended Diaz shortly after the positive test, pending a full disciplinary hearing.

It was announced at the hearing in May 2012 that Diaz was suspended for one year, retroactive to February 4, 2012, and fined 30 percent of his fight purse earned from the Condit bout. Diaz was eligible to return to MMA competition in February 2013.

Diaz faced Georges St-Pierre at UFC 158 on March 16, 2013 for the UFC Welterweight Championship. He lost the fight via unanimous decision.

As of July 28, 2013, Diaz had once again retired from MMA competition, though Dana White stated in interviews that he felt that Diaz was simply on hiatus, financially sound from the GSP fight, but did expect him to return eventually.

A possible Middleweight matchup between Michael Bisping and Nick Diaz was briefly linked, but soon turned down by Diaz. At UFC on FOX 9 in Sacramento, Dana White offered Diaz a rematch with Carlos Condit; Diaz turned it down. Diaz attended UFC 170 and had told the media that he would return if he could get an immediate title shot.

On July 24, 2014, it was announced that Diaz had signed a three-fight contract to return to the UFC. Diaz faced Anderson Silva on January 31, 2015 at UFC 183. He lost the fight by unanimous decision. On August 13, after several reschedules, Silva’s disciplinary hearing was held to decide on the subject. Silva’s defense argued that a tainted sexual enhancement supplement was the root of the two failed tests for drostanolone and also appealed to mistakes in the NSAC testing procedures, pointing to a pair of drug tests, one on Jan 19 and one after the fight, which Silva passed. He admitted to using both temazepem and oxazepem, benzodiazepines, the night prior to the fight as therapy to control stress and help him sleep. Silva’s team was unable to explain the presence of androsterone in the Jan 9 test. The commission rejected the defense and suspended him for one year retroactive to the date of the fight, as the current guidelines were not in effect at the time of the failed tests. Silva was also fined his full win bonus, as well as 30% of his show money, totaling $380,000. The result of the bout was changed to a no contest. At that point, Diaz had accumulated a UFC record of 7 wins, 6 losses and 1 no contest, with no successful challenges for a title.

Nick Diaz: More Drug Issues

On September 14, 2015 the Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended Diaz for 5 years and fined him $165,000 following his failed drug test of marijuana metabolites at UFC 183. Following his appeal four months later in January 2016, the suspension and fine were reduced to 18 months and $100,000. The suspension was officially lifted on August 1, 2016. Diaz had served a technical suspension due to outstanding fines with the NSAC as stipulated in his settlement claim. For this reason he was unable to corner Nate Diaz during UFC 196 and UFC 202. Diaz, according to sources, has reached an agreement with the Nevada Athletic Commission, which now frees him to participate in all combat sport-related activities in the state once again. He has not fought since 2015.

On April 9, 2018, Diaz accepted a one-year USADA sanction for failing to report his whereabouts to USADA on three occasions from the third quarter of 2016 to the first quarter of 2017. The sanction is retroactive to April 9, 2017, and Diaz regained eligibility on April 9, 2018. Former UFC Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey spoke against Nick Diaz’ suspension during the press conference before her fight against Holly Holmes.

Is Nick Diaz going to return to the UFC again?

On September 6, 2020, Diaz’s manager announced his client’s intention to return to the UFC and end his long hiatus at the beginning of 2021 after completing a test weight-cut and considering fights in the Welterweight division.


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