Nate Diaz has a bone to pick with anyone who says he’s absorbed too much damage in his career.
While the 38-year-old veteran has often been celebrated for his durability and endurance, Diaz refutes claims that he gets hit a lot or that he’s already suffering ill effects from a long career in combat sports. After he exited the UFC this past year, Jorge Masvidal called him “borderline vegetable” while stating that Diaz’s speech had been affected as a result of the years spent eating strikes in the octagon.
In response, Diaz didn’t address Masvidal or anybody else by name but he’s obviously been listening to the criticism aimed at him.
“I don’t really be eating punches like they say,” Diaz said during The Pat McAfee Show. “I bleed because of the forearms and elbows and s*** cut me up but like I said, I’ve been in a boxing gym and it might not look like it but I roll with a lot of these punches that anybody lands on me. I’m not just walking in like a meathead into punches. I’ve never been knocked out. I’ve never even really been f****** stunned stupid or nothing.
“These f****** are talking about how I talk and I’ve got f****** CTE or some s***. I’m like bro, I’ve been talking this way the whole motherf****** time. It’s got nothing to do with getting hit or none of that. I’m smarter now than ever.”
As he prepares for his upcoming bout against Jake Paul in August, which will serve as his professional boxing debut, Diaz admits that he’s actually much healthier now than during his MMA career because he’s not putting as much wear and tear on his body.
Of course, Diaz acknowledges that he’s still absorbing punishment through boxing, but he’s feeling great after putting his full focus on throwing hands rather than the full body workout required for his former job in the UFC.
“I’m not wrestling and doing all the grappling, there’s a lot less wear and tear so I feel really good,” Diaz said. “Boxing’s still a dangerous sports. I’m boxing with big guys and you don’t want to get your bell rung and get hit in the head a lot. It’s different than MMA because there’s a lot of headhunting going on but there’s a lot less wear and tear on my body for sure.”
Diaz also understands that just like MMA, it only takes a single punch to alter the course of a fight in boxing, which is why he’s concentrating on not getting hit.
“I feel like every fight is pretty f***** up,” Diaz explained. “Somebody is attacking you with their hands and their legs or whatever. I’m always aware I could get knocked out at any time and that’s what makes me train harder than most people.
“I think that I’m just conscious of that. That’s the reason why I stay conscious anyways.”
From the sound of things, Diaz is preparing for every possible scenario in his fight with Paul, which was recently changed from 8 rounds to 10 rounds. It’s the first time Paul has been scheduled for a 10 round fight and he’s talked often about how the extra time plays into one of Diaz’s biggest strengths with his cardio and conditioning.
Diaz definitely agrees, especially with the relentless pace he sets and he expects to wear out Paul before the final bell sounds.
“As many [rounds] as it takes [to get a finish], but I’ll tell you the longer it goes, I’m going to make sure it’s a living hell the whole time,” Diaz said. “I think that he’s got a long night ahead of him. I do as well but I’m not afraid of it. I’m ready to rock and roll.”