When it comes to sibling relationships, I'm not all too sure about what goes on, as I was blessed to be an only child. I'm sure there's an air of competition, but also of support. Even if the siblings seem very supportive of one another, I can't wrap my head around the notion of there not being a desire to one up your brother. Well, that's exactly what Nate Diaz has done in his MMA career with his win this saturday.
I'm not here to analyze the actual skill sets of either man, nor am I writing about who would win in a potential matchup. I will explain why Nate Diaz has achieved more than his brother ever has and likely ever will.
I will not deny that Nick Diaz has had a lengthy and impressive fighting career. His career spans a huge time in the history of this sport and he has proven doubters wrong time and time again. But that only brings him so far. His time in Strikeforce was spent beating down people below his level, and while impressive victories, they were not what would have any bearing on what people would think of his career, outside of his attitude outside (and sometimes inside) the cage.
When Nick had his chance to step up, he messed it all up. GSP vs. Nick Diaz was supposed to be the greatest thing to happen in recent MMA. GSP was the good guy with "demons" that wanted to put a hurting on Nick. Nick was a ballsy trash talker that would test GSP like nobody else has.
Then Nick goes and acts like a complete idiot. He no-showed for a press conference. Hah, no big deal in his mind. No-shows again. Dana removes him from his fight. Nick gets pissed because he didn't want to go to the "pageant". Oh well, back to the drawing board.
On to the next screw up.
Diaz gets his fight with BJ Penn, and it becomes an instant classic. The first round was competitive but then Nick takes over and dominates a pound-for-pound king for two rounds and takes home a decision. Now that GSP is out with a knee injury, Diaz will have to fight yet again for a title shot, this time against Carlos Condit. Diaz does what Diaz does, and acts like a jerk while getting beaten. When the decision is announced, he's shocked at the result. He becomes an expert critic, and bad mouths Condit. A rematch is in the works. "Never mind. I think I'll fail a drug test."
Now the elder Diaz sits on the side lines of a division that is growing to become very fearsome and talent rich. When he comes back, there's no gimmes. When he gets back to fighting, he's going to have to put in work and beat at least one tough opponent to even sniff a title shot. And it's all his own doing.
Enter Nate Diaz.
The younger brother that waited idly while his big brother was out making a name for himself. Opportunity rolls around, and now Nate got his own claim to fame. The Ultimate Fighter season 5 was his big break. He worked his way into the finale and became the Ultimate Fighter. After his win, he went on to become a crowd pleaser, going on to win five of his next seven fights, all of which were very exciting. When he had a rematch with Gray Maynard, he lost a (bad) decision, and decided that he'd be switching things up.
In his debut at welterweight, Nate won a TKO victory over Rory Markham at UFC 111. He then went on to embarrass the very game Marcus Davis in a fight that saw him finish the more experienced fighter in the third with a guillotine choke. He then got a step up in the welterweight division, and took on rising star Dong Hyun Kim. Again he lost an arguable decision, and was reasonably bitter. Again he was given a tough matchup with another rising star coming off a loss in Rory MacDonald. What followed was the definition of domination, and not in the favor of Nate. After this very tough loss, Diaz realized that he'd be better off to continue his career in lightweight. He annihilated Takanori Gomi in a very one sided fight and submitted him within a round. He then went on to fight Donald Cerrone in a fight that was very one sided which he took over very early.
He became recognized as a top lightweight after this victory. His overall game had come along very well, and his striking had gone from laughable to feared. He shared in the fame of his brother at this point, and maybe had even more name recognition with fans.
Then, on saturday night, he sealed the deal. Jim Miller was a pretty big favorite in their fight. The first round was competitive, people thought it could've gone either way. In the second, Diaz didn't let that happen. He was noticeably pushing forward more in typical Diaz fashion. He kept his pressure up, and Miller was fading in a way people had never seen before. Miller was wobbled and went in for a takedown. Nate recognized his opportunity, and synched up a deep guillotine choke that looked brutal. Jim Miller had never tapped before, he wouldn't possibly tap now.... or not. Diaz finished a man who'd never been finished before in a fight oddsmakers said he'd lose. Now he's in line for either a title shot or a number one contender's bout. Not an awful bounce back from getting beaten up by Rory MacDonald.
So, what have I said here? This isn't conclusive at all, Nate can still mess up everything like his brother has. Well yes, he can. Will he? Probably not, because he is better with decision making. He is better in front of cameras. He is smarter in the heat of the moment. What's more is he's just won a big fight on national television. It's the little things that make a fighter. Nate hasn't beaten people like Nick has, but either way, he's achieved more.