Nate Diaz first hit the UFC way back in 2007, defeating Manny Gamburyan to win season five of the Ultimate Fighter. Over the last fourteen years, the BJJ black belt from the 209 has been racking up finishes inside the Octagon. Along the way he’s racked up fourteen performance/fighting of the night bonuses, and cemented his reputation as one of the UFC’s most notable action talents. Diaz has eleven stoppages among his 25 trips to the Octagon hading into his UFC 263 matchup opposite Leon Edwards. Here are the six best submissions and KOs of his career.
Diaz vs. Kurt Pellegrino: UFC Fight Night 13
Nate Diaz submitting Kurt Pellegrino (2008) the double middle finger remains iconic pic.twitter.com/rkutWa2j8p
— Connoisseur of Combat (@ConOfCombat) August 17, 2019
Diaz faced Kurt Pellegrino in his fourth bout with the UFC. The Cesar Gracie trained fighter had won his previous three scraps by stoppage, picking up his first fight-night bonus for a first-round victory of Alvin Robinson in his previous outing.
Newer fans might not have seen the complete Diaz vs. Pellegrino fight, but they have surely caught the end of the contest. This is the famous triangle choke to double bird to double bicep finish that’s found it’s way into just about every Diaz highlight reel.
Diaz vs. Marcus Davis: UFC 118
In the five fights before he faced Marcus Davis, Diaz won three fight-night bonuses, but had also dropped three of those bouts with split decision losses to Clay Guida and Gray Maynard, and a UD loss to Joe Stevenson. Davis entered the fight fresh off a TKO win over Jonathan Goulet at UFC 113, and with a reputation as one of the UFC’s most reliable action fighters. At the end of the day, however, it was Diaz adding a win and another bonus to his record at UFC 118, when he battered Davis with strikes and snapped up the technical submission finish late in the third round of their bout.
Diaz vs. Takanori Gomi: UFC 135
After beating Davis, Diaz dropped decisions to Dong Hyun Kim and Rory MacDonald. That prompted a return to the lightweight division, where he faced MMA legend Takanori Gomi. Gomi had entered the UFC just two years prior, sandwiching a classic highlight reel KO over Tyson Griffin between submission losses to Kenny Florian and Clay Guida. Diaz hurt Gomi with his strikes early in the bout and wrapped things up with an armbar to win another performance bonus.
Diaz vs. Jim Miller: UFC on FOX 3
Submitted the submission master!
#OnThisDay in 2012 – @NateDiaz209 gave Jim Miller a run for his money.
[ via @UFCOnThisDay ] pic.twitter.com/Vd0VjR0mvm
— UFC (@ufc) May 5, 2021
In 2012, Diaz faced Jim Miller in his opponent’s home state of New Jersey for the main event of UFC on FOX 3. Miller was on an 8-1 run heading into the matchup and he had never been finished in his career. Diaz became the first man to hand Miller a submission loss when he forced him to tap to a deep guillotine choke (which was also a little visually disturbing).
Diaz vs. Gray Maynard: The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale
Nate Diaz finished Gray Maynard, seven years ago today#UFC
— Jon Realejo (@BloodyCanvasJon) November 30, 2020
Diaz had faced Gray Maynard twice before they squared off in 2013. Their first meeting was a 2007 exhibition bout on the Ultimate Fighter. Diaz won that matchup via submission. Maynard evened things up in 2010 with a split-decision win. In their final get together, Diaz battered Maynard with strikes for an uncomfortably long time before referee Yves Lavigne waved it off. Diaz walked away with a “Knockout of the Night” award.
Diaz vs. Conor McGregor: UFC 196
Two years ago today, Nate Diaz silenced Conor McGregor with a rear-naked choke at UFC 196. @JeffWritesBack pic.twitter.com/W3AYOcbuQo
— Sherdog by Mandatory (@sherdogdotcom) March 5, 2018
Diaz came into UFC 196 matchup against Conor McGregor on short notice as a replacement for then-lightweight champ, Rafael dos Anjos. In what could be the most memorable performance of his career, a bloody Diaz ended McGregor’s 15-fight winning streak with a second-round submission. The fighters took home “Fight of the Night” honors.
Diaz faces Leon Edwards in a five-round welterweight matchup this coming Saturday at UFC 263. The PPV event takes place on June 12 at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona. The main card streams on ESPN+ pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+ and early prelims on ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass.
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