UFC 143's Nick Diaz gets surrounded by a bunch of media crazies at the open media workout in Las Vegas. Photo by Esther Lin for MMA Fighting.
We fear what we don't know and/or understand.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight contender Nick Diaz may be living proof of this theorem, as he is both feared and misunderstood, possibly more than any other athlete in mixed martial arts (MMA) today.
On Sat., Feb. 4, 2012, Diaz will throw hands (among other things) with Carlos Condit at UFC 143 from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, in a 170-pound bout to determine who will become the promotion's interim welterweight champion.
Originally, the Stockton, Calif., slugger was supposed to fight current champion Georges St. Pierre, before a knee injury sidelined "Rush" until later this year. Meanwhile, Condit was previously set to take on Josh Koscheck on the same card, but was more than willing to be bumped up to the main event opposite Diaz.
It's a big fight, perhaps career-defining, with much on the line. Therefore, one would assume that Diaz would appreciate the magnitude of the moment.
Today (Wed., Feb. 1, 2012), at the UFC 143 open workouts, Diaz talked about the gravity of his upcoming fight against "The Natural Born Killer:"
"It's a little weird. It just feels like the next fight, really. For me, from one fight to the next, I don't (see) a big difference. I felt a lot more energy for this fight, but it wasn't nervous energy, so it was good. It was just healthy."
He just doesn't see it the same as the media and some other fighters do, unsurprisingly. That's because he doesn't see many things the same way as the general public.
"Different," he's okay with. It's when people start using the "C-word" (not the one you're thinking of) that he gets upset:
"People try to say, 'Oh, Nick Diaz, you know, he's crazy,' or 'He's crazy' or 'He's not crazy' or 'He's fake crazy' or whatever. I'm like, hey bro, what you see is what you get. I'm not out here trying to put on an act like I'm crazy. When you see me, what you see is what you get. And you get real martial arts; you get real fighting; you get a real warrior mentality. I'm sorry if people can't handle it. Some people aren't mature enough to handle it."
That's not all he had to say on the matter. If you ask Diaz, it's the other guys who have it wrong. He's just being natural. What you see is what you get:
"In my opinion, everybody else is crazy out of their mind. They're the ones putting on an act for you, doing what they're told in front of the camera. The camera gives them a line and they say it 10 times over again, and then whoever goes back in the back and picks that out. They turn these guys into these robots. I'm just not going to be that guy. So don't tell me I'm acting crazy. I'm out here acting natural. I'm the only one being realistic about this sort of thing."
Even though he's not out to kiss babies and win "Employee of the Month" awards, his public perception is more important than Diaz may let on. He just doesn't lose sleep over it:
"Sometimes, I don't care. A lot of times I'm not paying attention; I'm not worried about that. I'm worried about my performance and my day-to-day athleticism and my training. But, when I start to think about it and I start to get into that sort of thing, yeah. But I don't try to take a lot of time out of my day or out of my week to start to sound right or get right or explain to people. If I get a chance to say something for myself, like right now, then I'll do my best to try to straighten things out a little bit. But that's all I got."
Maybe he's crazy. Maybe he's the only sane one. Whatever the case may be, it's hard to debate that when Diaz has his mind right, he's a formidable and dangerous opponent.
A natural born killer in the cage.