Nate Diaz talks to UFC.com about his early days of getting into training and eventually ending up on the Ultimate Fighter. Both events seem to have been spurred on by his brother Nick, which is kinda surprising since you’d think all the advice Nick gives out would lead to incarceration or an early grave, not wealth and success.
“We were sitting at home when they started The Ultimate Fighter, and we’re like ‘this s**t is ridiculous,’” said Nate. “We were just criticizing it horribly and we’re laughing at it, saying ‘hell no, I would never do that.’ And then they called him for The Ultimate Fighter, but Nick was like ‘I’m not doing that show.’”
Nick refused a spot on season four of TUF, but when the call came in for season five, it was for Nate. The younger Diaz refused, even though Cesar Gracie believed he should do it. Then Nick entered the picture.
“I think you should do it,” Nick told his brother.
So he did, but as soon as taping began, he wanted out.
“I said I’m getting out of here,” recalled Nate. “I don’t even know why I’m here.”
But then his first fight against Rob Emerson was set.
“At that point I couldn’t leave, because if I left, it would be like I didn’t want to fight somebody.”
Diaz beat Emerson, and again, he would lie awake at night plotting for a way to leave. He didn’t do it though, and after beating Corey Hill, Gray Maynard, and Manny Gamburyan, he won the season title and a UFC contract.
“It was a good thing I stayed because it was like a shortcut and it got me right into the UFC,” he said. “It was the best thing that could have happened. I had no money, I was broke, I was a kid, and I had no direction, and at that point it kinda gave me a direction.”
Nate’s time on the Ultimate Fighter also solidified his reputation as ‘the sane Diaz brother’, with the one major spat on the show involving him being mostly Karo Parisyan’s fault. Although to be fair to Karo, did Nate know who he was bro?