The 38-year old Diaz is different than the brash fighter that made his professional debut 20 years ago. He’s different than he was when he faced Anderson Silva in his last outing at UFC 183 in January 2015.
Diaz has a cult-like following of fans that admire his legendary toughness and unbridled candidness. If Diaz had his way, he wouldn’t be fighting on Saturday, or ever again.
“I never enjoyed fighting. It’s just something that I do,” Diaz told ESPN during a sit-down interview. “It’s just what I do. I tried to get away from it, but really it’s kind of inevitable.”
Diaz revealed that part of the reason that he’s returning to fighting is that he doesn’t want to have future regret. There were other reasons as well.
“All the people around me, all the money and sponsors, they won’t let me get away from fighting. There’s things that I can do, but that’s not going to work out. I might as well go and take my punches. I don’t want to look back and say, why did I not just do it? I don’t feel great. I feel great to fight, but I feel great about everything. But if I don’t do this I don’t know how I’m going to feel about myself, you know, two years down the road if I’m sitting here going, why didn’t I just do this fight that I would have won.”
During the course of the interview, Diaz stated that there’s nothing about prize fighting that he enjoys and that he has a lot of resentment toward the sport.
“This is not enjoyable. This whole thing is for everybody else. I’m glad that the fans are happy and that they love it. That’s just what gets them going,” he said. “I fight and everybody benefits and I don’t. I get paid to fight, and then I fight. I don’t enjoy fighting.”
“I have a lot of resentment toward the sport for taking so much from me but not giving anything back,” Diaz said.