Nathan Donald Diaz, born on April 16, 1985, is an American professional mixed martial artist who is currently a free agent. He gained significant recognition during his time with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), where he fought for over 15 years after winning The Ultimate Fighter 5. Before joining the UFC, Diaz also competed in other organizations like World Extreme Cagefighting, Strikeforce, and Pancrase. Known for his exciting fighting style, Diaz holds the distinction of receiving the third most UFC bonus awards, totaling 16 in his career.
Nathan Diaz was born in Stockton, California, to Melissa (née Womble) and Robert Diaz. He has a mixed heritage, being of Mexican and Anglo descent, and grew up with his brother Nick and sister Nina. His martial arts journey started at the age of 11 when he began training in martial arts alongside his brother, Nick. Diaz attended Tokay High School before embarking on his professional MMA career.
In his early days as a professional fighter, Diaz competed primarily for World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC). He had a shot at the WEC Lightweight Championship in 2006 but lost to then-champion Hermes França via submission in the second round. Following this, WEC was acquired by Zuffa, LLC, the parent company of the UFC.
Diaz gained widespread attention when he appeared as a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter 5, a reality TV show featuring lightweight fighters. Representing Jens Pulver’s team, he went on to win the show by defeating Manvel Gamburyan in the finals via submission after Gamburyan suffered a dislocated shoulder.
Throughout his career in the UFC, Nathan Diaz has earned a reputation as a skilled and entertaining fighter, becoming a fan favorite with a loyal following. With his notable performances and numerous bonus awards, he has left a lasting impact on the world of mixed martial arts.