One of the most respected and feared men in MMA history, Nate Diaz’s legacy in the sport can never be forgotten. Diaz’s demeanor and skills have resulted in him becoming a true fan favorite.

Competing under the last fight of his UFC deal on September 10, Diaz faced Tony Ferguson at UFC 279, beating “El Cucuy” via submission after a bout with heavily favored Khamzat Chimaev got nixed. A free agent, Diaz has gone on to explore other aspects of combat sports.

The Stockton native will compete in his first boxing bout when he faces Jake Paul on August 5. The fight airs on DAZN and ESPN+ PPV. While he is the +300 underdog (per Caesars), the durable Diaz is ready to display a toughness fans have known him for.

The Sporting News looks into the career of Diaz and how he became a true enigma in the combat sports world.

WATCH: Jake Paul vs. Nate Diaz, live on DAZN

How old is Nate Diaz?

Diaz is 38. At 11, he began training with his brother Nick in martial arts.

The Diaz brothers became famous for their bare-knuckle fights, which Nate started at 17.

Nate Diaz record, bio

Diaz made his MMA debut in 2004 and won silver in the 2005 Pan American Jiu-Jitsu Championships. Competing for WEC and Strikeforce, Diaz joined the UFC in 2007. He won The Ultimate Fighter 5 lightweight tournament by beating Manvel Gamburyan.

MORE: Sign up to watch Jake Paul vs. Nate Diaz on ESPN+

Diaz has gone 16-11 with the UFC in 27 contests. He has faced the best of the best, competing in wars against Clay Guida, Marcus Davis, Donald Cerrone, Jim Miller, and Michael Johnson. He earned nine Fight of the Night, four Submission of the Night, and one Knockout of the Night bonus awards throughout his UFC tenure.

In 2016, Diaz became a true household name thanks to his rivalry with Conor McGregor. He was a last-minute replacement opponent for an injured Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 196. Diaz put McGregor to sleep in a shocking moment. After waiting months for the rematch, they faced off at UFC 202. Both engaged in physical and psychological warfare, with tensions rising leading up to the fight. McGregor would win the rematch via majority decision.

A third fight has been discussed but has never been booked.

After almost two years away, Diaz was supposed to fight Dustin Poirier in 2018. Poirier, however, had to pull out of the fight. Diaz wouldn’t return to action until 2019 when he beat Anthony Pettis. He then faced Jorge Masvidal for the BMF Title, making it East Coast vs. West Coast. Masvidal beat Diaz inside Madison Square Garden via TKO.

It wasn’t until 2021 that Diaz fought again. He lost to Leon Edwards at UFC 263 in a fight where he almost rallied back in the last few seconds of the bout. Booked to fight Chimaev at UFC 279, Diaz faced Ferguson when Chimaev didn’t make weight for their bout. Diaz submitted him in the fourth round to a standing ovation.

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Nate Diaz and the UFC

Diaz has voiced his displeasure with the UFC and President Dana White. He even asked for his release from the promotion before UFC 279. Appearing on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Hour, Diaz slammed the UFC for not booking him against fighters he desires. Diaz called his experience as being held hostage.

Despite the bad blood, Diaz expressed a desire to return to the UFC in the future.

“That’s an option, the UFC,” Diaz said at the Paul-Diaz press conference via MMA Mania. “I would like to [return to UFC]. At the end of the day, I’d like to go back and fight for a world title. If not, I’m going to have make my own world title and make the best come to me. I would like to be back in the UFC or fight the belt holders in boxing, also.”

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Kay Adams