Nate Diaz (above) shares similarities with his brother, Strikeforce ace Nick Diaz. | Photo: Sherdog.com
Nate Diaz (above) shares similarities with his brother, Strikeforce ace Nick Diaz.After seeing Nate Diaz struggle in another welterweight bout against Rory MacDonald at UFC 129 on Saturday in Toronto, the same thought occurred to me that always occurs to me when I see him fight: he is progressing much like his brother, Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz, did.
Both guys have only been stopped legitimately once in their career, Nate in a too-early match against the tough Hermes Franca in his seventh fight, Nick against Jeremy Jackson his third match; Nick was also stopped on cuts against K.J. Noons but was never close to being out. Since then, they have proven as durable as anyone in their respective weight classes.
At 26, Nate is still fresh off a move from the 155-pound division, where he was an exceptionally difficult opponent given his reach, range and toughness. Making weight prompted his move to 170.
Like Nick was against Diego Sanchez and Karo Parisyan, Nate may be a little underpowered at this point, but as his standup improves, so will his ability to deal with the welterweights. Both Diazes suffer from “wrestleritis,” whereby the only sure way to beat them is to score takedowns, avoid submissions and do some cosmetic damage with the occasional shot, hoping you do not get swept or submitted in the process. Better striking will radically alter that equation.
In a year or two, Diaz will have added strength and sharpened up his striking to become a welterweight contender. Nick’s striking evolution did the same thing for him, albeit in Strikeforce, where he has been miles better than his UFC showings, at least in the standup game. If history has proven anything, it is that as Nick progresses, so does Nate.