As you all may or may not know, our old pal Nick has spent the past year suspended and out of the octagon. Now, it seems that there are two major schools of thought that MMA fans have towards Nick. You either hate him or you're a fanatic nuthugger. I will admit, I'm a Diaz nuthugger. However, that's not what I'm here to talk about. What I am here to do is ask a question which will play an important role in the welterweight division's future as Nick is undoubtedly a major player in the 170lb class. How has Nick changed this past entire year?
Has Nick matured more? Has he grown up? Has he had time to reflect throughout all those hazy nights that he spends on his couch taking bong rips of some of California's finest medical marijuana? If so could we see a more mature and grown up Nick. Could he have taken notice that little brother Nate is on the cusp of reaching the ultimate goal, a UFC championship. Nick was in the same position Nate was not too long ago and as we all know, he blew it. I don't know about Nick, but if my little brother was more successful than me, I would be a little butthurt. Thus, maybe it has dawned on Nick that his behavior needs to change. Perhaps Cesar Gracie and co. have taken this past year to mentor Nick and give him some guidance. Some could point to the Braulio Estima fiasco as a sign that Nick has NOT changed. Read about it here if you don't know what I'm talking about and form your own opinion. I for one, being a Diaz nuthugger, give him the benefit of the doubt and think that the entire thing was a misunderstanding and everyone is to share as much blame rather than this just being the product of Nick no-showing.
Secondly, there is the changes that training made on Diaz. In my opinion, this is way less of an unknown variable because Nick is known to love training. Nick gets stoned and does triathalons for fun!!! He is not a guy who goes out and parties and drinks the way some others fighters do like Chuck Liddell. Diaz is a guy that trains and gets high and eats super healthy. My guess is that he has spent the past year training and eating healthy and not doing things that would take away from his fitness.
Imagine what a year of focused training would do for a guy like Diaz. You know he has spent the past year training with more focus than ever before. Nick has always complained\d about fighting too much and it is well known that he does not like doing interviews and press conferences. Without the hectic press duties that come with fighting in the UFC, I'm willing to bet Diaz has been more focused on his training. I think it is a lock that Diaz will come back greatly improved. The only thing in question now is whether he's matured or if he is still the same immature paranoid stoner man child? Only those around him know but I sure as hell can't wait to find out and I hope he returns to the octagon as soon as possible.