Try losing when you don’t feel like you’ve truly been beaten.
That’s where Nick Diaz found himself after his first throwdown with Karl James Noons.
Diaz was definitely on the worse end of the ugly stick at the end of round one in their November 2007 bout. Noons had done an excellent job avoiding Diaz’s patented pawing punches, effectively utilizing his own boxing skills.
He opened up a cut on Diaz’s eyelid midway through the round, and then another on the bridge of his nose before the bell.
While the damage was mounting, Diaz’s cut man managed the more severe of the cuts – the one on his eyelid – quite well, keeping it from becoming the faucet its potential promised, and was working on his nose in between rounds.
But before they could make it to round two, the ringside doctor brought a halt to the fight, handing Noons the EliteXC 160-pound divisional title in the process.
Diaz, still maintaining his faculties, immediately protested; ready to keep going. His protest fell on deaf ears.
The fight was over, but it has remained with Diaz ever since.
Saturday night, he’ll get his chance not to avenge a loss, but bring an end to a fight that started three years ago.
“I was angry for a long time (about the first fight),” admitted Diaz. “I was real upset that it ended the way it did because it wasn’t like I was hurt.
“I never considered the first fight as a loss. I just always looked at it as a fight that was stopped (too soon).’’
When EliteXC folded, Noons went back to his first love… professional boxing. Diaz had mostly much accepted that the fight had slipped beyond his grasp.
“I kind of dropped the idea of ever fighting a rematch because he got out of MMA.”
After surgery to have the bones in his brow filed down to help prevent similar cuts in the future, Diaz went on a tear… and he’s still on it.
The Cesar Gracie-trained black belt hasn’t lost a fight since. He’s overcome the likes of Frank Shamrock; Scott Smith; Marius Zaromskis, to win the Strikeforce welterweight title; and Hayato Sakurai, among others. Five of the wins on his seven-fight streak have come via knockout and the other two by way of submission.
But that’s just what Diaz does, because he is a fighter. He’s not a fighter by trade. He’s not a fighter by choice. He’s a fighter because it’s what he is, and it’s what he will call upon come Saturday night at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., where he will continue the fight with Noons, who has won three-straight since returning from boxing.
“I don’t look at it like I love to fight. I look at it like I have to fight,” Diaz said. “Because if there was any quit in this game, I wouldn’t have made it this far.
“It’s just kind of my life to fight.”