Nick Diaz on Nick Diaz: 'I'll do what I've got to do'
LAS VEGAS -- After 35 professional fights, two years out of competition, and with a fight against a much bigger opponent who also happens to be perhaps the best MMA fighter of all time, Nick Diaz says that his only priority is being as ready for that bout as possible. Everything else -- including the theater of open workouts, signing UFC posters and excessive media obligations -- pales in comparison to Diaz's UFC 183 main event fight on Saturday in Las Vegas.
That being said, Diaz apologized to fans and the UFC for deciding to miss his originally scheduled flights from California to Nevada, and subsequently, Wednesday's open workouts in town.
"I apologize to all the fans. ... I didn't really put too much thought into it. I was just focused on the fight," he told assembled media Thursday afternoon.
"I apologize to the UFC ... kind of everybody not knowing what was going on with me. It really wasn't a big deal. ... I'm going to do what I have to do, and then come and fight."
In other words, he's sorry, but not really. Diaz acknowledged that he had "pulled [this] same card," before and that it was "pretty inconsiderate of me."
The Stockton fighter then went on to spend much of the rest of his time with the media Thursday trying to explain how training for fights is essentially a self-centered endeavor anyway. For reasons only completely known to him, whether they be anxiety-related, gamesmanship, savvy promotional tactics, or a combination of all of those or more, Diaz says he is sorry, but he's going to do whatever he feels will get him most ready to fight.
"I'm going through a few different things in training, you know, being out a year or two. You know, there's some good with the bad, and some bad with the good, you know, and all that stuff, so I really just wasn't prepared for a Wednesday out here," he admitted.
"When we got to the airport I was like, 'I think I would rather sleep in my own bed tonight.' I think they were going to try and jam me up with a bunch of things. They were going to keep me up. It was like, I love having my stuff at home. I'm not ready for what we've got tomorrow. So, we just flipped a U-turn and headed back home. I've got to do what I've got to do."
Diaz understands that other, less popular fighters may not get the same leeway in regards to skipping out on the many promotional responsibilities the UFC yolks fighters with on fight week. The star isn't saying he deserves special treatment, but concedes that he'll take it if he can get it.
"I'm not trying to say I'm special, I'm saying that I'll take what I can get, and I'll do what I've got to do," he said.
Fighters are tugged and prodded in many different directions in the days and weeks leading up to big fights, in addition to, you know, getting ready for battle with their livelihoods at stake. Not that he ever really excelled at playing the corporate game, but Diaz says that he's in a place now where only one timeline matters to him -- his own -- and only the most necessary of deadlines will be met.
"I'm not trying to rush anything, for anybody, you know?" he said.
"I've got a deadline -- I know what that is. That's come make weight on Friday, come fight on Saturday. I'll do the best I can to put on a show for the fans, you know, fight for the fans, give 100 percent for the fans, but if I'm going to do that to the best of my capabilities, I'm going to take as much room as I can to do that.
"At this point and time, regardless of whatever obligations I might have, for me, I'm going to have to do what I have to do."
In the end, Diaz believes that doing things his own particular way -- from staying an extra day or two in his own bed in California, to not taking part in as much of the UFC 183 media circus as his opponent -- is just a part of him ensuring that he'll be ready to do the one thing that really matters -- fight, and fight well on Saturday. In Nick Diaz's pained mind, at least around competition time, the negative hypotheticals always seem to be emphasized.
He doesn't see that as paranoia, however. Instead, it is just a matter of health.
If Nick Diaz does things the way Nick Diaz wants to leading up to fights, he'll fight better the night of. At least, that's the hope.
After all, as the weathered vet of many ring battles knows, things will probably get messy on fight night, no matter what.
"People want to say, 'Oh, you're irresponsible,' " Diaz reasoned.
"Is it responsible for me to get an ass whooping, which is probably gonna happen regardless? Whether I win or I lose. Just like in every fight I've done. It's not like I don't anticipate the worst-case scenario out there like I always do and I always have."
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