Nate Diaz did not seem to be showing the signs of ring-rust in the slightest as he returned to the UFC octagon with a hugely impressive win over Anthony Pettis in the UFC 241 co-main event.
Pace, pressure, and fluidity on both the feet and the mat in equal measure, Nate’s return seemed to very much show a fighter reborn, one that looked every bit as good as he was advertised after three years away from the sport.
Walking to the cage to a rapturous reception from those in attendance, Diaz in many ways confirmed his status as one of the sport’s most widely celebrated superstars and once both men were ready to go, there certainly was the feeling that something special was about to go down.
So… did you miss him? ?
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) August 18, 2019
Although certainly tight in its early goings, the pace and pressure of Nate saw Showtime’s night go from bad to worse before long – especially in the third-round where the Stockton-native really started to up the ante.
And while mainly a stand-up affair, each of these BJJ black-belts did themselves justice once the fight hit the mat but again, it was Diaz who did more with the moments he created for himself.
Nate Diaz is back ladies and gentlemen! ?
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) August 18, 2019
Ring-rust truly did not seem to be a factor once the opening bell rang – a testament to Nate’s unrelenting emphasis on training and his overall conditioning.
After winning the battle on the scorecards in the eyes of all three sitting judges, the question, of course, became about when Diaz would next make that walk and thankfully, the answer given by the fan-favourite was one that will no doubt fill fans with excitement.
“With this belt, I want to defend it against – Jorge Masvidal had a good last fight. Good last fight. All respect to the man, but there ain’t no gangsters in this game anymore. There ain’t nobody who does it right but me and him.
“So I know my man’s a gangster, but he ain’t no West Coast gangster.”
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) August 18, 2019