As of August 17, 2015, Diaz is #14 in the official UFC lightweight rankings.
The Ultimate Fighter 5
Diaz was a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter 5, which exclusively featured Lightweights, fighting on Jens Pulver's team. In the preliminary round, Diaz defeated Rob Emerson by submission; in the quarterfinals he defeated fellow Team Pulver teammate Corey Hill via triangle choke submission in the first round. In the semifinals, Diaz defeated Team Penn member Gray Maynard by submission, advancing to the finals where he faced teammate Manvel Gamburyan. After losing the first round, Diaz won by submission after Gamburyan was forced to tap out in the second round due to the dislocation of his right shoulder as the result of attempting a takedown. With the victory, Diaz became the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 5.
UFC Professional Career
After defeating Alvin Robinson and Junior Assunção via submission he demanded tougher fighters. Diaz was given a match with Kurt Pellegrino at UFC Fight Night 13. Diaz defeated Pellegrino via triangle-choke submission in the second round, after losing the first. As he locked up the choke, Diaz had time to flex for the crowd and throw up double middle fingers before Pellegrino actually submitted by "tapping out".
Diaz defeated veteran Josh Neer by split decision in the main event of UFC Fight Night 15.
Diaz then fought former Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Clay Guida at UFC 94: St. Pierre vs. Penn 2, losing via split decision. Guida used his wrestling to take Diaz down multiple times. Diaz attempted to reverse Guida several times using judo-esque switches when Guida had his back. These switches failed to improve position for Diaz. In the 2nd round, Diaz opened up with his boxing and managed to tag Guida several times. After three rounds, the judges awarded Guida the split decision victory, marking Diaz's first loss in the UFC in what was also his pay per view debut.
Diaz met fellow Ultimate Fighter winner and former King of the Cage Welterweight Champion Joe Stevenson at The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale. Diaz was largely controlled on the ground due to Stevenson's superior wrestling skills. Stevenson took Diaz down at will and held multiple advantageous position throughout the 3 rounds. Diaz was unable to work any significant submissions or stay on his feet long enough to outstrike Stevenson. Diaz thus lost by unanimous decision.
After two consecutive losses by decision, he was billed to headline UFC Fight Night 19 opposite Melvin Guillard. Diaz was knocked down by a right hook seconds into the fight but recovered quickly, scoring two trip takedowns after being flipped once by Guillard executing a judo throw (harai goshi). He displayed fortitude throughout the rest of the fight, maintaining composure when hit flush several times, becoming more accurate and effective with his boxing in the second stanza, and after backing up Guillard with a left and right jab combo, his opponent backed up until he bounced off the side of the cage, missed with a swing and looked to take Diaz down. At this moment Diaz locked in a modified guillotine choke, using his right leg to keep Guillard in position. He seemed to acknowledge the crowd in attendance before Guillard tapped and Diaz won at 2:30 of round 2.
Diaz faced Gray Maynard on January 11, 2010, in the main event at UFC Fight Night 20, a rematch from when the two met in the semi-finals of the TUF 5 Lightweight tournament, where Diaz won. Diaz lost a controversial split decision to Maynard, as the former TUF winner was given the nod in the FightMetric reports, winning rounds two and three.
After three losses in four fights, Nate considered making a permanent move up in weight to the 170 lb. weight class, stating "I don't make enough money to have to drop this much weight so I'd like to fight at 170 and only go to 155 every once in awhile [sic]."
Diaz made his Welterweight debut on March 27, 2010, at UFC 111 against Miletich Fighting Systems product and striking specialist Rory Markham. At the weigh-ins, Markham weighed in at 177, whereas Diaz weighed in at the Welterweight limit of 171 and the fight was changed to a catchweight fight. Diaz went on to win the fight by TKO in the first round.
After the win over Markham, Diaz stated he would compete in both weight classes. His next fight was again at Welterweight against former professional boxer Marcus Davis on August 28, 2010 at UFC 118. Diaz utilized his reach advantage to great effect, peppering Davis with punches that caused considerable damage over time. Diaz finished Davis after choking him unconscious with a guillotine choke submission in the final round; the bout earned Fight of the Night honors.
Diaz lost by unanimous decision to Korean Dong Hyun Kim, on January 1, 2011, at UFC 125. Diaz was taken down and controlled by Kim for the first two rounds. While Nate won the final round by pushing the action against a fading Kim, it was too late. Diaz lost the fight 29–28 on all judges' score cards.
Diaz fought Rory MacDonald on April 30, 2011, at UFC 129. Diaz was unable to mount much significant offense, being viciously slammed by MacDonald 3 times in the third round, and was controlled on the ground by MacDonald, losing via a lopsided unanimous decision. Following the loss, Diaz stated that he would be moving back down to the Lightweight division.
Diaz defeated former PRIDE Lightweight Champion Takanori Gomi on September 24, 2011, at UFC 135 via armbar submission in the first round. During the fight, Diaz showed improved boxing, rocking Gomi on several occasions and also showed good ground skills, transitioning perfectly from the triangle position to the armbar. He earned Submission of the Night honors for his performance.
Diaz defeated Donald Cerrone at UFC 141 via unanimous decision, in a performance that earned both participants Fight of the Night honors. Despite being knocked off of his feet multiple times by sweeping leg kicks from Cerrone, Diaz had one of the best performances of his career. Diaz set a CompuStrike record, landing 82% of the strikes he threw en route to his victory over Cerrone.
Diaz,after several years of training, finally received his Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt from Cesar Gracie. He was awarded his black belt a month before his fight with fellow Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Jim Miller.
Diaz next faced Jim Miller on May 5, 2012, at UFC on Fox 3. Diaz outboxed Miller for the majority of the first two rounds, even dropping Miller with a straight left at the end of the first round. Near the end of round two, Miller shot in for a takedown, to which Diaz stuffed and countered with a rolling guillotine choke, forcing the tap at 4:09 of the second round. The submission won Diaz his fifth Submission of the Night bonus award. It was also the first time Miller had been stopped in his MMA career.
Diaz faced Benson Henderson on December 8, 2012, at UFC on Fox 5 in the main event for the UFC Lightweight Championship. Diaz lost the one-sided bout via unanimous decision. Three weeks prior to the championship bout, Diaz signed an eight-fight contract with UFC.
Diaz faced former Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Josh Thomson on April 20, 2013, at UFC on Fox 7. He lost the fight via TKO due to a head kick and punches, during which Nate's brother, Nick Diaz physically threw a towel into the octagon, in an attempt to signal the referee to end the bout.
A rubber match with Gray Maynard took place on November 30, 2013 in the main event at The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale. Diaz won via TKO in the first round. The stoppage earned him his first Knockout of the Night bonus.
On May 5, 2014, both Nate Diaz and fellow UFC fighter TJ Grant were removed from the UFC’s Lightweight rankings after being deemed inactive by the UFC.
After over a year away from the sport, Diaz returned from his self-imposed hiatus and faced Rafael Dos Anjos on December 13, 2014 at UFC on Fox 13. Diaz missed weight, coming in at 160.6 pounds. He was given additional time to make the lightweight limit, but didn't attempt to cut further. Instead, he was fined 20 percent of his purse, which went to Rafael dos Anjos. Diaz lost the one-sided fight via unanimous decision.
Diaz was briefly linked to a welterweight bout with Matt Brown on July 11, 2015 at UFC 189. However, in mid-April, Brown announced that the pairing had been scrapped.
Diaz is expected to face Michael Johnson on December 19, 2015 at UFC on Fox 17.
• Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight Division Rank #14
• The Ultimate Fighter Season 5 Winner (TUF5)
• Fight of the Night Winner (5x)
• Submission of the Night Winnter (5x)
• Knockout of the Night (1x)
• 2nd Most Submission Victories in UFC History (tied with Frank Mir & Kenny Florian)
• Career Submission Attempts - 8th Place in UFC History (tied, 20 attempts
• Significant Strikes Landed - 9th place, 717
• Xterra Triathlon - 3rd Place (Age 25-29)