In ways it seems like it’s been a long time coming for UFC fighters Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (22-8) and Nate Diaz (19-11) to meet inside the octagon across from each other.
As their epic bout inside the Staples Center in Anaheim, CA on August 17th is just around the corner, it is time to bridge the gap. Given the history between the two fighters, we are about to hold hands while skipping down the yellow brick road and to where their story has begun.
During 2012, Benson “Smooth” Henderson was UFC’s current lightweight Champion. Being a 27 year old from the West Coast, Diaz got his shot at the belt on December 18, 2012 at UFC on Fox 5. Unfortunately, the opportunity was lost as Henderson successfully got his hand raised after winning a five round decision.
Just a little over five months after that Diaz went on to take another fight against Josh Thomson, who was making a return to the company, during UFC on Fox 7 on April 20, 2013. Once again, Stockton’s finest lost, but this time to a brutal head kick along with hammer fists to follow in round two. Diaz’s corner threw in the towel at the same time the ref jumped in to stop the fight. This was the first TKO loss in Diaz’s career.
As Diaz went back to the drawing board, Pettis went to fight Henderson himself for the belt instead at UFC 164 on August 31. 2013. This time “Showtime” went in that octagon making a statement. While 4:41 stood on the clock in round one, Pettis quickly got an armbar submission winning the Championship belt that night.
Afterwards, all eyes were on Pettis for that title; Diaz being one of them. The Ultimate Fighter Season 18 was almost coming to an end when Diaz expressed wanting to fight Pettis during the finale of the show instead of Gray Manyard because the belt was up for grabs in the eyes of Diaz. Soon after, Diaz took to twitter expressing himself for the world to see.
Nah Fuck that I'm fightin Pettis
— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) September 8, 2013
Meanwhile, the tone changed quite a bit after the fact mostly because Pettis was already scheduled to fight Josh Thomson on December 15, 2013 at UFC on Fox 9, who Diaz lost to months prior. However, unfortunately Pettis had to pull out of the fight beforehand because of a torn PCL aka a knee injury.
Diaz wasted no time expressing how he felt on the situation.
Bitching outta everyother fight now ?wonder what that's like? #urpayingthesepussys
— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) November 11, 2013
But then Pettis decided to respond two days later.
2 losses + lisssssp + best offense is your middle finger = can't talk shit!!! #votepettis
— Anthony Pettis (@Showtimepettis) November 13, 2013
In a Las Vegas nightclub after UFC 167, the teams of both fighters were in the same room. Later in the evening one friend of Diaz’s happened to pose and take a picture with Pettis because they were a fan. From there things escalated and drinks were thrown.
“Me and Nick Diaz never had a confrontation together, I think Twitter blew it up a little more than it was. That’s normal for me in Milwaukee, nothing big.” -Pettis (via @mmafightcore)
It’s probably safe to say there were no animals harmed in the making of this film.
As the dramatic antics come to a halt after two weeks, time continued to tick and Diaz fought Manyard as originally planned. On November 30, 2013, Diaz quickly turned the tables getting a pretty impressive TKO victory inside round one.
The month of December was coming into full-swing. Pettis was on a segment of UFC Tonight on FOX where he expressed, “That if Nate had more fights I would be down […] Nate Diaz has been talking so much. He looked pretty decent in his last fight. I hope he works his way up and we get to fight.” -Pettis (via UFC Tonight). And if you thought Diaz wasn’t going to respond to that, think again.
You work ur way up u have alot of catching up to do I was injured too still fought.. #1fightayearwhyrutalking
— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) December 5, 2013
As Diaz gives Pettis just a little but of breathing room, it was the perfect time for “Showtime” to put his focus onto something else. In February 2014, the UFC made the announcement for the two coaching positions on the new season of The Ultimate Fighter: A Champion Will Be Crowned.
Meanwhile, Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez just re-signed into the UFC. Being apart of the Skrap Pack could have its benefits along with being one of Diaz’s close homies, it made all the sense for Melendez to take the spot. Being this was the first season to showcase women fighters, some fans thought the show might have delayed Pettis from defending his belt. However, the show must go on and it did.
— UFC (@ufc) December 7, 2014
“Showtime” went to fight Melendez after the season was over at UFC 181 on December 6, 2014. Even though the entire West Coast including Nate Diaz was fighting vicariously through “El Nino” I’m sure, sadly the Skrap Pack took a loss that night. Pettis won with a guillotine choke inside round two.
Around this time Pettis was blowing up to be his own version of McGregor at the time in the UFC. Did you know he is the first UFC fighter to grace the cover of a Wheaties box?
Dana White called Pettis “I think Pettis is the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world” and wanted to make a super fight between “Showtime” vs Jose Aldo during his reign. But White has mentioned on camera about Aldo before that “He is absolutely refusing to fight Pettis. He either fights Pettis or he isn’t going to like how this is going to turn out.”
Just seven days later after UFC 181, Diaz puts his foot down to fight Rafael dos Anjos at UFC on FOX 13. RDA won by a three-round unanimous decision. Then on March 14, 2015, Pettis wanted his own crack at RDA during UFC 185, but a lot lost to a unanimous decision. However, this one was five rounds because it was for the lightweight belt which Pettis lost that night.
After not winning since Manyard in 2013, Diaz stepped in to face Michael Johnson at UFC on Fox 17. On December 19, 2015, Diaz stepped out of his losing streak and made a statement winning a three-round fight with a unanimous decision.
As the world turned into another year, Pettis wasn’t looking so hot at the beginning of 2016. Taking on Eddie Alvarez at UFC Fight Night 81 on January 17th, Pettis lost a very close fight against Alvarez where he came up short with a split decision loss. Only two months later, Showtime would lose again, this time to Edson Barboza on April 23, 2016, by a three-round unanimous decision.
In-between that time on March 5th, Diaz made his way to UFC 196 in Las Vegas to fight Conor McGregor. This was a pretty big deal and an insane money fight. The tables turned as Diaz shocked the world with the most satisfying rear-naked choke we have every seen while making McGregor tap out in round two at 4:12 on the clock.
From that moment on the life of Diaz was never the same.
As for Pettis, he wasted no time after the loss to Barboza. On August 27, 2016 at UFC on Fox 21, he won by a submission rear naked choke against Charles Oliveira inside round three. That win was much needed given the shift the UFC seemed to endure after UFC 196.
The rebooking of a Diaz v.s Mac rematch was on everyone’s tongue.
Although it was scheduled for July 9th, 2016 at UFC 200, it was called off because McGregor at the time missed some mandatory promotional events ahead of the fight. So UFC made the choice to take him off the card. It was a huge blow to fans however, it was reset for August 20, 2016, during UFC 202.
As the media scrum for the event went on Diaz decided to bring out his vape and smoke CBD where the majority of others thought it was weed (which is wasn’t). That was a new shining light for the do’s and dont’s of the UFC in the words of “testing”. However, Diaz is one to not care. Meanwhile, on fight night, the bout went all five rounds this time, but McGregor came out with the majority decision win.
Diaz still till this day believes he truly won that fight despite what the judges scored it.
After the rematch between Diaz and McGregor, Pettis continues to test himself in the fight game and this time it’s against Max “Blessed” Holloway for UFC 206. The interim featherweight title was on the line the night of December 10, 2016. Sadly, Holloway caught Pettis with a TKO in round three where the path of becoming a Champ again seemed a bit muggy.
Pettis decided to take a little time until he faced Jim Miller at UFC 213 on July 8, 2017, by winning a unanimous decision. Then on November 11, 2017, Pettis found himself facing against Dustin “Diamond” Poirier at UFC Fight Night 120 until he lost in round three. During UFC 226, Michael Chiesa tried to prove he was better than Pettis on the night of July 7, 2018, but he wasn’t. Pettis got his groove back by cementing a triangle armbar in round two.
When UFC’s 25th Anniversary was announced it was a really exciting time. And during UFC 227 in Southern California, they hosted a press conference for most of the upcoming cards going on. This time Diaz and Poirier were going to fight each other. On August 3, 2018, Diaz was the last to show up at the press conference after it had already begun. When he made it to the stage the square-off between both fighters happened. Then the UFC decided to show the ever so “anticipating” promo announcement that the current lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov was going to defend his belt against Conor McGregor at UFC 229 as well.
Diaz didn’t stay long after that promo as he then got up during the conference and walkout. Later that day he tweeted:
I’m not fighting on that show fuk the @ufc
— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) August 3, 2018
Then just five days later he adds in:
I can’t commit when they actin like shit….
— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) August 8, 2018
Meanwhile, the fight with Poirier was becoming to seem a bit distant after trying to lobby for a 165 lb fight in a new division.
I’m Happy to announce that I’m bringing a new weight devision to the Ufc
I’ll be fighting the main event November 3rd in nyc against Dustin Poirier for the first ever 165lb belt superfighter devision
I’m happy to be apart of history @ufc @danawhite
— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) September 26, 2018
— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) September 26, 2018
And Dana White shut that down pretty quickly on September 28, 2018. White didn’t entertain the idea at all as the fight was previously signed for the lightweight division. The idea was “Nutty as hell” according to the President of the UFC.
Feeling the hype, Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson stepped into the picture on October 6, 2018, at UFC 229 against Pettis. As round two approached, Pettis’ corner threw in the towel, where Ferguson won the fight by ref stoppage. Meanwhile, it was noted that “Showtime” got a broken hand during the event.
While Pettis just needed a little time to heal, Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal on October 9, 2018, was trying to make things a bit interesting by offering to fight Diaz instead.
@NateDiaz209 at 170 I got you homie
— Jorge Masvidal UFC (@GamebredFighter) October 10, 2018
Given that fight has yet to happen, Masvidal seemed like a huge advocate for it from the start.
“I don’t know if Nate is a long time ‘70-pounder now or what’s happening” […] “but if he is, if he’s staying at ‘70 and that fight gets offered me, I’d love to fight Nate.” -Masvidal (via bjpenn.com)
Even though nothing moved forward with that potential fight, on October 18, 2018, Poirier announced that he is out of the fight with Diaz for UFC 227. While training Poirier struck an unfortunate injury during training which left him to heal for three weeks.
After that, the UFC decided to also pull Diaz from the card even though there were fighters offering to fight him. It was to no surprise UFC 229 needed just one more big fight. Since it was clear Diaz and Poirer wouldn’t be fighting on the same card as Pettis and Ferguson.
During the build-up with Diaz, Poirier tried explaining the process of even getting the fight to become a reality.
“Nate was being hard to deal with, I believe. Every weight class they offered it at 155 and he wanted 160 and I agreed to that. He kind of negotiated himself out of a main-event spot. They offered us the main event, I accepted, Nate over-negotiated, they lost the main event, it was just back-to-back days of him trying to have his way, honestly.” -poirier (via @themmahour)
Even Ben Askren tried chiming in on July 1, 2019, on the situation with Diaz coming back to the UFC to fight Pettis after being gone for so long.
“He is not a threat in the slightest bit to the welterweight division. I think we’re getting down to the point where he’s just delusional.” -Askren (via @MMAFighting)
but then he also goes on to say, “I think it’s pretty easy” while talking about fighting Masvidal. Funny since Askren got TKO’d with a flying “Gamebred” knee during UFC 239.
The UFC finally decided to announce the return of 209’s, Nate Diaz, during the UFC 237 prelims. Diaz with a fight at UFC 241 against Anthony “Showtime” Pettis in Anaheim at the Staples Center. The fight will be 170 lbs.
Whether it's shocking the 🌍, Double 🐦🐦, or on the 🎤, @NateDiaz209 is full of must-see moments in the Octagon.
— UFC (@ufc) June 15, 2019
When you think about Diaz’s welterweight record it really isn’t that much. He fought Rory Markham during UFC 111 on March 27, 2010, where it was supposed to be a fight at 170 however, Markham showed up to the fight 7 pounds over. So really it didn’t count. Diaz won by TKO in round one.
Meanwhile, Marcus Davis during UFC 118 on August 28, 2010, Diaz got his hand raised by winning with a guillotine choke in the third round.
Moving on to Dong Hyun Kim on January 1, 2011, at UFC 125 Diaz lost by a unanimous decision not only to the “Stun Gun” but also to Rory MacDonald in his next fight. This fight was at UFC 129 on April 30, 2011, and Diaz lost by yet another unanimous decision.
Diaz is 2-3 overall in the welterweight division.
While the thought of the fight comes to mind, the way Pettis has been looking lately given his last fight seems like a massive challenge. Diaz hasn’t fought since 2016.
Pettis coming out with a TKO win over the #3 ranked welterweight was impressive. Plus Pettis’ fighting style is Diaz’s kryptonite with his lethal kicks. But the boxing style Diaz brings to the table, can Pettis withstand the pressure Diaz brings as we have seen him wilt before with overwhelming pressure fighters? Grappling is pretty even between the two including ground game.
Meanwhile, Pettis has been more active and reached the higher pinnacle in the UFC than Diaz has.
Now that we know what Nate Diaz and Anthony Pettis have been up to throughout the years and how they are fighting each other, you better not miss this fight! Catch the main card of UFC 241 on PPV August 17, 2019.
And Nate Diaz flips off Ben Henderson again! pic.twitter.com/19nu7ziH
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 9, 2012