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Heart of the 209

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Art: Edward Cao

Heart of the 209
By Shaun Al-Shatti

Nate Diaz said this would happen. He told us for years. The decade-long slog may not have been the way he drew it up, but even then, Diaz set the bait for his best catch in classic Diaz Brother fashion. Three fucks and one shit over 19 seconds on a live national primetime broadcast. A post-fight callout so profane that on-air censors punted the audio within seconds, leaving a live audience stunned and nearly three million at home wondering what the hell they just missed. You couldn’t script it any better. Afterward, in the bowels of the arena, Diaz said he only fought at UFC on FOX 17 to set up a fight with Conor McGregor. He worried that his message would be lost to the big long bleep, but his older brother Nick assured him that social media would carry the word, and of course Nick was right.

This game can be dizzying. Within four months, Nate Diaz swung from persona non grata to beloved superstar, from no leverage to silly leverage. One win over the human Pulp Fiction briefcase and suddenly a decade of prediction looked prophetic. Diaz always told us he was here, right here, just waiting for that UFC push, just waiting for that nudge into the mainstream saved for the Northcutts and Van Zants. Now he’s on Conan beefing with Bieber.

Can you imagine how all of this would’ve sounded two years ago, when things were so bleak the UFC whitewashed Diaz from its own lightweight rankings? A few keystrokes and poof — eight years of service gone, the fighting pride of Stockton replaced by a ghost, a name written in invisible ink. ….View full article

Source:: mma fighting