Love him or hate him, there's no denying that Nick Diaz is a major player in the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA). Fiercely competitive and outspoken almost to a fault, the Californian and loyal student of Cesar Gracie has fought some of the world's best.
Only 24, the wily Diaz continues to fight his way across the industry, recently signing a contract extension with EliteXC that locks him up for the next two years.
I had a chance to catch up with Nick last Friday, as he vented on a variety of topics including Mike Aina, the credibility of the UFC welterweight division, and brawling with Joe Riggs in a Las Vegas hospital.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Nick, thank you for taking the time to check in with us at MMAmania. You were recently hospitalized with staph infection. How is your health at this point?
Nick Diaz: I feel good now, I started getting my strength back those last few days in the hospital. I had to be ready you know because of the Xterra Nevada. I ended up taking second place. I lost first by seven minutes due to a poor swim, I couldn't get much swim practice because I was in the hospital.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): The Xterra Nevada? That's the triathlon?
Nick Diaz: Yeah, it's something I did last year and I took third and wanted to better my time. I had a bad day in transitions. I couldn't find my helmet, my number was missing, guys were recording me, I was all fucked up. It just wasn't going my way.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): I'm sure being in the hospital hurt your time as well.
Nick Diaz: Staying in the hospital sucked. I lost my wallet right before I was admitted. I was staying at Kit Cope's house before that.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): You and Kit are pretty tight? What's he up to?
Nick Diaz: Yeah, he hurt his knee so he's been trying to get that taken care of. He's going to start training jiu-jitsu with us and get a little more rounded and hopefully get back into MMA. He's a good guy and he's helping me with my leg kicks. I don't throw the best kicks.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Going word is you didn't throw anything in your last fight against Mike Aina. Why so much heat over that fight?
Nick Diaz: Dude I won that fight -- I don't know what the fuck anybody else is talking about. This is bullshit. Man I want to fight that guy again. I'll tap his ass out. What the fuck is he trying to say? That I didn't win every round? I felt like I was cruising but people were acting like I got my ass whooped. What the fuck? Who is watching this fight? I blocked everything he threw. Dude, I could have jumped into guard and finished his ass in the first round but what the hell is the point of that? It's a fight so I fought.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Is that a strategy of yours? If you can finish it, even if it's an easy way out, why not take the sure thing?
Nick Diaz: I'm not gonna go out there and pull guard. You don't do that in a cage. Maybe in PRIDE but not in a cage where they're scoring takedowns. I don't want to look desperate either trying for the takedown right off the bat. I don't know if the judges were boxing judges or what they were looking for but after the fight he was pretty fucked up. He had an ice pack on his ribs and when we got to the hospital he had blood coming out of his mouth and he was getting pumped full of pain medicine. I was fine, walking around ready to get the hell out of there. I won that fight I don't know why people are saying I didn't.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Well the EliteXC commentators weren't exactly helping your cause.
Nick Diaz: Man, fuck them. They were acting like they're all buddies with me and the next day they stick it to me. They should be able to know and recognize what's going on in there. You got (Bill) Goldberg in there and they're acting like he's this experienced fighter, but who is he? Why isn't there a fighter in the booth helping these guys? If you never fought an MMA match in your life, how are you going to be able to know what you're looking at? Not everything that goes on in the cage should be taken at face value, but if you're not a fighter you don't recognize that stuff. That was ridiculous man, these guys need to shut up and call it right.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): You got staph as a result of that fight?
Nick Diaz: Yeah. I had a small cut over my eye and it got in there. Plus, my immune system was already weakened from dropping to 160. And what the fuck is with the food in Hawaii? They got nothing to eat there man I was dying for some real food. Plus, I didn't sleep after the fight and once I got on that fucking airplane the pressure pushed all that shit together and the next thing you know, I had chills and a fever. I know when something's wrong with me too, I was thinking "Damn this ain't right." I felt like I was dying.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): I'm assuming you went to the hospital right away.
Nick Diaz: Yeah and they wanted to send my ass home! My eye was completely swollen. They were like "Well you had a fight" and I was like "Dude, I'm fuckin' dyin' over here." They finally took a blood test and were like "Whoa -- you are dying."
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): So, have you run into Frank Shamrock since joining EliteXC?
Nick Diaz: No, I haven't seen him. I only met him once. I don't have any personal issues with him but I'd love to fight him. Why not? That fight would make me a lot of money. He's a little over the hill and I dunno, I feel pretty unstoppable right now.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): There are no hard feelings from the (Cesar) Gracie fight?
Nick Diaz: No, not especially. It's all fair game out there. Anything that happens inside the cage or inside the ring is just business.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Speaking of business, why aren't you fighting in the UFC?
Nick Diaz: Well, I'm making more money fighting for these other organizations.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Do you hope to eventually return?
Nick Diaz: Sure, I'll fight for the UFC if we can negotiate a good contract or a good opponent.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): You feel like you left on good terms?
Nick Diaz: Sure, I don't see why not. I think they were a little disappointed in me that I didn't do certain things as a fighter like go on Blind Date or some other reality show. Plus I would never do anything against the Gracie team because I'm very loyal, not like the rest of these fakes who paint their hair and wear makeup and shit. They think they are the theme of a good fighter and they fake their way onto these magazine covers. Fucking fakes painting their hair and toes just to get recognized as a fighter. Meanwhile, I'm sitting here and all I want to do is fight. You don't see them giving me no magazine cover.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Who paints their hair and toes?
Nick Diaz: Dude, everybody. C'mon man. Even Hermes Franca. One day he comes in with that goofy haircut. You got Jens Pulver, fucking "Mayhem" Miller. Some bitch he was talking to tried to offer me this piece of hydrogenated chocolate. What the fuck are these guys into? Give me some real chocolate. Real fighters eat real chocolate.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): So I guess no Christmas card for "Mayhem."
Nick Diaz: They were interviewing him and he tries to get me involved and those guys cut out my intro. I think it was Sherdog or something. All they did was include the part where I was rambling on so I look like a fuck up. They need to include the whole thing or don't interview me. This guy is afraid to take an ass whooping. Whatever.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Tell me about The Ultimate Fighter 4: "The Comeback." Weren't you offered a spot on that show?
Nick Diaz: Yeah. They wanted me to go on there and fight guys like Matt Serra and Chris Lytle. Dude, I already beat Chris Lytle. Who do you think would have won that whole show? Who do you think would have been in the finale? It was obvious. I don't even want to get into Matt Serra. That was his time, I mean he's a great guy and I'm happy for him. He fucked up ol' Georges pretty good because he knew he had nothing to lose. I'd love to fight one of these guys.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Like who?
Nick Diaz: Georges or Matt Hughes, who the hell is there? Fitch? My boy Jake (Shields) choked him out already. I'm ready to start talking shit on these guys. What do I have to do to fight one of these guys or get the promoters to make it happen? Call these guys pussies? Fine. They're all pussies. Fuck every single one of them.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): You don't think Fitch is the real deal?
Nick Diaz: No, I don't. I think I'm gonna slap him and after I slap him I'm gonna beat him. Give me a fight with Fitch, go ahead. The UFC doesn't want me fighting them, but I'll be there even when they start falling off because I'm a long distance fighter not like these fragile guys who always get hurt in training. How the hell do you get hurt so much in training? Stop flipping tires and jacking up all these weights.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): I assume you mean Georges St. Pierre?
Nick Diaz: Sure, this guy is an explosive guy, a strong guy, but how long do you think his body is gonna let him keep that shit up? Five years? I doubt it. He gets hurt every time and then admits it. Diego is over there tearing his quad. What kind of crazy shit are these guys doing? Kill, kill, kill is their motto, but then they go and drink on the weekends. That's okay but I smoke pot and I'm an asshole.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): So pot is okay for fighters?
Nick Diaz: Hell yeah! The shit has healing powers. I would recommend pot for any fighter. Especially the ones that drink. You can't get bombed and expect to be 100% the next day but if you had a joint you would be 110%. Most of those fucking guys are popping Vicodin and drinking and before you know it, they're crashing.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): A lot of critics say that pot gave you an unfair advantage in the Gomi fight because it may have dulled your sense of pain and allowed you to continue after getting knocked down.
Nick Diaz: That's bullshit. If I wanted to numb myself I would have done two shots of Patron because I don't drink and I wouldn't have felt a thing. And it doesn't even matter because I didn't get high anywhere near that fight. I live in California and I smoke weed but damn, I don't do it before a fight.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): How disappointed were you that they overturned the decision?
Nick Diaz: I wasn't. I was glad to know they were the ignorant ones. It makes me laugh. All these smart people punking me and oppressing me at the table and they didn't want me to say anything during the hearing but fuck that I'm a fighter. I fight over anything. That's what I do.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Last season on The Ultimate Fighter, Dana introduced your brother and said that the Diaz brothers were "Angry at the world." Is that an accurate description?
Nick Diaz: No. I'm angry with a lot of people in the world but not the world itself. A lot of things make me mad because I care about stuff. I want to contribute to the good of mankind. I'm not stuck up or anything, I want to see people better themselves. Look at our obesity problem. I had a friend who just lost 90 pounds and we took him to the Xterra. I'm all about the optimum fitness level and healthy eating.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): One of the reasons you may have that label is the incident you had with Joe Riggs in the hospital following your fight at UFC 57. Is it true you ambushed him in the waiting room?
Nick Diaz: He started that shit dude. I was like "Come over here then if you want some, bitch. You can't see me you fucking pussy." So he started walking towards me and threw his hands up, so he took an ass whooping. I told him he was gonna get smacked if he came over. He kept saying "Get your brother! Get your brother!" My brother was standing right there we could have jumped him but we're not like that. I ain't no bitch and I ain't no punk and I don't want to be a poor sport, but I feel like I won that fight. I'm definitely better than that guy.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Did you get any heat from the UFC brass over that incident?
Nick Diaz: No man, the cops asked me for my autograph. They gave us a little speech and yadda yadda yadda. Dana was cool about it, he knows we're fighters. Besides he (Riggs) fucking started it.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): You mentioned your brother Nate. How proud are you of his success?
Nick Diaz: Very proud. I was a little worried at first. I don't want to see him take an ass whooping or have my family see it and feel like I pushed him into this. Our family is pretty close, but they weren't happy about us fighting at first. Now that we're the talk of the town and on TV they love it. That kind of makes me sick. I don't like the pressure of them watching me fight.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): How hard was it for you to be denied a corner license for his fight at the TUF 5 finale?
Nick Diaz: It was no big deal. He doesn't need me. He has a great corner. I didn't want to be there or even watch the fight. We need each other for training but not really for fights.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Well that about does it on my end. Anything you want to plug or any thanks?
Nick Diaz: I want to thank my coach and my team. They're the best. My Sambo coach has really been great and Jake Shields is the greatest training partner. He's the man. So is Gilbert Melendez. I'm gonna hook up with Jake and David Terrell later and do some training.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Thanks again Nick and good luck in your next fight.
Nick Diaz: Okay, thanks.