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Neither of the Diaz brothers have fought in years. Nate Diaz last stepped into the Octagon in a rematch with Conor McGregor at UFC 202. The younger Diaz earned millions of dollars over the course of two fights with the Irisman for the first time in his career, and promptly absconded from the sport for a variety of reasons, including the unwillingness of the UFC to meet his pay demands, Conor McGregor’s absence that kept Diaz from fighting the one draw big enough to give him that payday, and a variety of legal troubles that kept him on the sidelines. He nearly returned in 2018 opposite Dustin Poirier, but Poirier had to withdraw from a fight for the first time in his career, and the disgruntled Diaz withdrew again. Nick Diaz was supposed to fight Jorge Masvidal, but the bout fell through amidst increasingly erratic behavior from the elder Diaz.
Yet, despite the fact that we haven’t seen either brother inside the Octagon for well over two years, their popularity endures. Joe Rogan had some ideas on the lasting appeal of the famous duo, and believes the UFC underestimates their fanbase. Via BJPenn.com:
“Cause he doesn’t give a f**k,” Rogan said. “He legitimately doesn’t give a f**k. He smokes weed all the time. People love it. They love the fact that those guys are like that.
He went on to remind us that McGregor opposite Diaz at UFC 202 did bigger numbers than McGregor fighting Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title a few months later, establishing that Diaz has an appeal all his own, apart from Conor McGregor.
One of the reasons why Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor was so big is because people love Nate Diaz too,” Rogan explained. “It’s not just Conor McGregor. No disrespect to Eddie Alvarez, but when Conor McGregor fought Eddie Alvarez, the vast majority of the eyes were on Conor McGregor. When Conor McGregor fights Nate Diaz, you’re looking at a lot of people who love Nate Diaz.
I think those guys are superstars, I think the UFC doesn’t know.”
Will 2019 feature the return of Nate Diaz? The potential for a trilogy closer with McGregor lingers, but is their rivalry wearing out its shelf life? Rogan is right that the UFC seems unwilling or unable to promote Nate Diaz as an independent draw, perhaps because of exactly the ‘don’t give a f***’ attitude that makes him so appealing as a character to fans.
Demetrious Johnson got some of the more random fan art I’ve ever seen
Anthony Smith says he will be a champion or die trying
"I'm gonna be a world champion or I'm gonna be the first guy to die in the octagon trying. And I believe that and I'm OK with that." -- @lionheartasmith to @MMAjunkieGeorge, @thegoze and @DanTomMMA on @MMAjunkieRadio #UFC235 pic.twitter.com/NZ2G9IZJDh— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) January 10, 2019
Israel Adesanya doing wrestling practice
I’ve never seen this- what an amazing moment. Takanori Gomi gave us some incredible MMA moments
Gomi gets head kicked then notices the referee has dropped his pen. pic.twitter.com/36U34adfvR— rory (@RoryAlexanderM) January 9, 2019
Funny if true
Watch the referee
This is why a 165-lb. division is the only one that makes sense to add.
2018 UFC Men's Fights by Division— Michael Carroll (@MJCflipdascript) January 9, 2019
34 - Heavyweight
38 - Light Heavyweight
44 - Middleweight
79 - Welterweight
72 - Lightweight
57 - Featherweight
52 - Bantamweight
24 - Flyweight
When journeyman Tony Booth was being heckled by the crowd chanting ''You fat b**tard!'' he decided enough was enough! pic.twitter.com/UUCF47vXkh— Against The Ropes (@ATRboxinguk) January 7, 2019
Rose Namajunas vs. Jessica Andrade is likely the co-main event for UFC 237; the most sense would be to have Amanda Nunes defend against Cyborg, Ketlen Vieira, or the winner of Holm-Ladd
Sources say that current plan is to have UFC 237 at a 45,000-seat soccer stadium in Curitiba (first reported by Combate), but the company needs a stacked card for that. Not a done deal yet. https://t.co/k05V5nqPMn— Guilherme Cruz (@guicruzzz) January 9, 2019
This fight was truly insane.
Wood vs Reed - the craziest fight in Cage Warriors history?— Cage Warriors (@CageWarriors) January 9, 2019
London takeover! Before our #CW102 early bird tickets hit full price at 9PM tonight, we're re-watching our favourite London memories pic.twitter.com/dznHfeY6u8
- Mackenzie Dern and other fighters who insist at fighting at weight they can’t make, baffle and infuriate me. They should all be forced to fight up a weight class and never be allowed to return. Looking at you, Kelvin Gastelum, Charles Oliveira, and Michel Prazeres!
- Dominick Reyes thinks he’s the guy to beat Jon Jones, and I agree.
- Karim Zidan gave fascinating insight into the threats potentially facing Khabib Nurmagomedov amidst a world of hardline Muslim extremists, dangerous dictators and Russian crooks.
Who among us doesn’t like fluffballs?
Awwww The purest thing I seen Today pic.twitter.com/iKn9AP0KRc— OMGcutepups™ (@OMGcutepups) January 9, 2019
High drama in Antarctica