UFC veteran Nate Diaz has achieved 13 Performance of the Night awards over 19 victories. Throughout his tenure with the leading mixed martial arts organization, Diaz has emerged as one of the toughest fighters in the history of the UFC. The Stockton, California resident has always been chasing big-money fights and for most of his career, Diaz did not have the pay he felt he deserved. That was until his fight with Conor McGregor at UFC 196. His second-round submission of the star of the moment earned him his biggest pay day and the crossover fame many would have never thought to be possible for the fighter representing Stockton.
All but Diaz were surprised by his accomplishment at UFC 196. After the fight, he let the world know by simply stating to the fans in attendance at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and those tuning in via PPV, “I am not surprised Mother [EXPLETIVE]”. The win for Diaz improved his professional record to 19-10. The largest payday of his career came nearly 12 years after his first fight in 2004, where he made his professional debut for WEC and defeated Alejandro Garcia in Lemoore, California.
From knockouts to submissions Nate Diaz has always been a fan favorite. Here are the top five victories of his career:
Nate Diaz vs. Jim Miller 2012
On May 5, 2012, at UFC on Fox 3 Diaz outboxed Miller over two rounds which included a knockdown courtesy of a straight left at the end of the first round. At the conclusion of round two Diaz stuffed a takedown and countered with a guillotine choke, forcing Mille to tap at 4:09 of the second round. The submission won Diaz his fifth Submission of the Night bonus award. It was also the first time Miller had been stopped in his MMA career
Nate Diaz vs. Michael Johnson 2015
Fighting for the first time since since May of 2014 Diaz returned to the Octagon to battle top prospect Michael Johnson on December 19, 2015 at UFC on Fox 17. Coming in as the underdog Diaz won the fight by unanimous decision. Both participants were awarded Fight of the Night honors. After the fight Diaz took to the mic and called out UFC star on the moment Conor McGregor in an epic rant filled with expletives that could not be heard over live TV.
Nate Diaz vs. Manvel Gamburyan 2007
Many fans took notice of Nate Diaz as a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter 5. Most at the time new him as the younger brother of Nick Diaz. Throughout the course of the show he would submit contestants like Rob Emerson, Corey Hill and Gray Maynard. In the finals he would face and defeat Manvel Gamburyan in the second round. Winning Season Five of the Ultimate Fighter was the launching pad for a great UFC career. Over the next nine years Diaz would continue to submit opponents and earn Performance Awards.
Nate Diaz vs. Donald Cerrone 2011
At UFC 141 Diaz was knocked off of his feet multiple times by sweeping leg kicks from Cerrone. Despite the difficult challenge Cerrone presented Diaz had one of the best performances of his career. Diaz defeated Donald Cerrone via unanimous decision, in a performance that earned both participants Fight of the Night honors. Diaz set a CompuStrike record, landing 82% of the strikes he threw en route to his victory over Cerrone.
Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor 2016
Filling in for an injured Rafael dos Anjos Diaz was given only eleven days to prepare for the biggest payday of his career. Due to the lack of time to cut weight the fight would take place at welterweight and serve as the main event on March 5, 2016 at UFC 196. Diaz won the fight via submission in the second round. Both fighters were awarded Fight of the Night honors and Diaz was also awarded with the Performance of the Night bonus.