On last night’s edition of The MMA Hour, Rose Namajunas revealed that questions about her readiness or level of excitement ahead of a fight were once a personal “pet peeve”, but the young veteran and soon to be two-time UFC strawweight title challenger added that she has become better at ignoring “dumb stuff” like that in recent years. The comments inspired her interviewer, Ariel Helwani, to reminisce fondly about a great interview with one Nick Diaz from several years ago.
Thankfully, Reddit MMA user LittleMrsMonkey went and dug that interview out.
In March of 2013, Diaz returned to action following a loss to Carlos Condit and a subsequent 13-month layoff to challenge Georges St-Pierre for the UFC welterweight strap. It was by far the biggest fight of Diaz’s career and one that was a long time coming, as the Stockton native had been scheduled to face St-Pierre 19 months prior but had been pulled from the title bout after no-showing a press conference.
Yet, when Diaz was asked during the build-up how excited he was for the contest, his answer was both categorically negative and jarringly honest.
“I’m not. I’m not excited” said Diaz. “I don’t understand that. That word and fighting, they don’t mix to me. They never have.”
Expressing sentiments that were echoed by Namajunas on Monday, Diaz continued.
“Certain words – you don’t like to hear them. It’s because they don’t belong. Like when you ask me am I ready. Fuck no, I’m not ready. When are you ready?
“I don’t want to hear somebody ask me if I’m ready and I don’t want to hear somebody ask me if I’m excited. Those two things, excited and ready, ready and excited – I don’t want to hear that shit ever. I could fucking slap the shit out of somebody for that sometimes.
“There’s people who are hurt out there. There’s people who are still hurting, still broke, still in the ghetto. I could be that guy right now. I’m not that guy any more. I’m excited for that. You want to ask me if I’m excited? I’m excited I don’t have to be that guy any more.”
Man, Nick can be pretty damn deep and strangely eloquent sometimes.
Diaz went on to lose to St-Pierre via decision over five rounds, a loss that was once again followed by a lengthy hiatus. When he returned to the octagon in January of 2015, however, he was once again cast into a massive fight against yet another pound for pound stalwart in Anderson Silva.
But once again, Diaz refused to show any enthusiasm for the match-up.
“I don’t enjoy fighting,” said Diaz. “I don’t use that word (excited) in this sport. I use that word like maybe I’m starving, and food is showing up. I’m getting excited. That’s excitement. Or I’m excited to have a couple of days off. I’m excited to fight somebody? I don’t know if people are confused with that term when it comes to fighting.
“Would you enjoy fighting Anderson Silva?”
Diaz has never been shy about making such admissions and during an interview with Ariel Helwani in 2015 he even seemed to express some regret that younger brother Nate followed him into MMA.
Diaz has not fought since that bout with Silva, a fight which he lost via unanimous decision over five rounds on the night but the result of which was changed to a No Contest after both men tested positive for different banned substances. UFC president Dana White claims that he has offered Diaz several opportunities to return since his resultant suspension came to an end last year but that the former Strikeforce welterweight champion has turned them down.