If there were any concerns that Nate Diaz’s star power has waned in the 19 months since he entered a UFC cage, he likely disappeared in a cloud of marijuana smoke at the UFC 263 pre-fight press conference.
With a raucous crowd at the Arizona Federal Theater, Diaz was as in demand as Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori, or co-stars Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno, if not more.
Diaz faces top welterweight contender Leon Edwards in a five-round match on the main card Saturday at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
As the six fighters present looked for one last chance to generate interest in the event, Diaz’s presence seemed more important than any words. The 36-year-old Stockton, California native admitted that the support from fans was impressive.
“It makes me happy to be back and to be on a great card. I’m excited about that. “
That was his entire answer, and it wasn’t even the shortest answer of the day. That honor would go to this detailed answer when asked how training camp was: “Camp was good.”
Diaz’s demeanor was in stark contrast to the blaring tirades between middleweight champion Adesanya and challenger Vettori. However, the support from fans for his every word was no less emphatic, especially as he took a few puffs from a joint, first half-hiding it under the dais and then in the open air as the ceremony progressed.
“There is love wherever I go,” Diaz said. “I love the support and I love all this shit. This is great. It’s also great that these guys are doing their thing too. Hell yeah, a real fight, that’s great. “
Flyweight champion Figueiredo tried to fuel his rivalry with Moreno by talking trash. Diaz did no such thing, but instead offered a huge compliment to his opponent. Nate compared Edwards to the legendary Georges St-Pierre.
“I think just as GSP was doing their thing a long time ago, I think Edwards is doing the same, and he’s not getting any credit for that. So I’m excited to fight a worthy opponent. That is why I am here and I come to win ”.
Achieving that will certainly not be an easy task. The bookies have Edwards as a -600 favorite. This implies an expectation of almost 86% that the Briton will defeat Diaz. Which would put him 1-3 in his last four appearances.
But as it has been for much of his career, Thursday’s press conference proved once again that Diaz has reached the rare state of boasting of a career that is not entirely dependent on wins, nor does it require a boisterous shove before the fight . When Diaz is on the card, fans already know exactly what to expect.
“Every fight is going to be the best fight they’ve ever seen,” Diaz said.
On our YouTube channel we leave you the pre UFC 263 conference, subtitled in Spanish