I've always been someone to relate to the little brother. I'm a little brother. Sometimes that big brother can be everything to you. A mentor, a role model, a leader. Oftentimes the older brother is the more alpha, prone to charge forward, even recklessly at times. A younger brother not only learns what to do from his older brother, just as much he can learn what not to do.
Nick Diaz might be my favorite fighter in the cage, and he also might be the most fascinating personality in all of MMA. He's can come across as ignorant and angry one day, and then can turn around and become fascinatingly introspective. His talent has been there since the beginning, coming up in a pre-TUF era where he took some losses early in his career as he came up, culminating in a three-fight UFC losing streak. But his reckless streak, whether through bad decisions, personal anxieties, or purposeful choices that put him in trouble like conitnuing to smoke marijuana. In this Fight Game, Nick Diaz appears to understand who to play the fight, but not play the game.
Nate Diaz is clearly in awe of his brother. The reference of how he speaks about him, the way he as modeled his career after his brothers, even his fighting style. The intense cardio, strike-in-volume boxing, the jiu-jitsu, the mean-mugging, the talking while not looking at you speech. Its all Nick Diaz, and it is all in Nate. But I've noticed this week as the press as been focusing on Nate and Jim Miller, it appears that Nate Diaz might be becoming that we all want Nick to be.
Nate answers questions thoughtfully and honestly. Nate seems to show more respect for his opponents. But most of all, he understands the game. Nate will always be compared to his brother, but I can't help but think Nate is about to overtake his brother in MMA. On the cusp of a title shot, Nate has embraced what needs to be done while Nick has proven that he can't handle the pressure. We don't see the recklessness in Nate that exists in Nick. There is less of a smoldering rage that sets him back.
And now Nick continues to fight the world. He's fighting with the UFC and with the NSAC. His brother loyally defends him, loyally touts him as the best fighter in the world, and tells anyone and everyone he wants to be like him. Yet as Nate Diaz enters this fight tomorrow night with Jim Miller for a shot at the UFC lightweight tile, reverence doesn't mask the reality that Nate Diaz has also learned what not to do from his brother Nick. He's embraced his success and embraced being a UFC fighter and what he can do with it. If Nate Diaz beats Jim Miller, he gets a UFC Title shot.
I bet he won't find a way to ruin it.