Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC
Nate Diaz spent a good part of this week with the yacking class of sports talk TV. On Fox Sports Live, he smirked while remembering how mad he was the last time he encountered his interviewers and their disembodied laughs in his earpiece, before co-host Jay Onrait assured him they were laughing at the fallout from his latest press conference with Conor McGregor and not Diaz specifically. “Well yeah, it’s hilarious, if you’re not fighting in a cage,” Diaz replied. On UFC Tonight, in what was a minor miracle for a fighter to whom family and fighting are both famously personal, he stood a few feet from UFC middleweight Michael Bisping—who’s campaigned for a fight with brother Nick—without even flying off the handle. And on ESPN’s SportsNation, he talked about running into Justin Bieber and making amends. “He said, ‘Let’s squash the beef,'” Diaz said. “I was like, ‘Hey, I got real beef out there, so it’s all good between me and you.”
With a rematch against McGregor at UFC 200, rumored to be coming any moment, Nate Diaz is spending a sustained moment in the spotlight. He’s also transforming right in front of our eyes, just by opening up and showing everyone else who he’s been all along.
It’s at least a little different from the fighter a lot of us thought Diaz was: terse, belligerent, vulgar. That didn’t matter so much when he was contracted for the usual tasks thrust upon a late-notice replacement opposite McGregor at UFC 196: show up more or less in shape, keep pre-fight tensions running high, and serve as a reliably grumpy contrast to the extroverted McGregor. In the aftermath of swarming and submitting the Irishman and wondering aloud whether the UFC would give him a PR push, ….View full article