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Nate Diaz talks throwing in the towel ahead of TUF 18 finale main event

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Nate Diaz (L) will face Gray Maynard (R) again tonight (Getty)

Former UFC lightweight title challenger Nate Diaz returns to action tonight at the TUF 18 Finale card in a main event bout against rival Gray Maynard. It will be Diaz' first fight since a brutal TKO loss last April to Josh Thomson.

When Diaz began to take too much punishment in the second round of the match, the referee stepped in and called a halt to the action but Diaz' older brother and cornerman Nick Diaz also threw the towel in metaphorically and literally. With the topic of excessive damage taken during fights a hot one of late, Nate recently reflected on his own last stoppage and the issue on the whole.

"I didn't feel like the fight should be ended, but that's just my opinion," Diaz said of his loss to Thomson.

"If I was watching from the outside I probably would have thought, too 'oh yea, that didn't really look good.' But the only people who know are people in that fight.

"I felt I was defending myself a little bit but I watched it, too. It didn't look good. It looked like it was time to throw in the towel so I agree with it."

Nate says he couldn't possibly be mad at his brother for symbolically stopping the fight because protecting the fighter is a corner person's job.

"I ain't mad at [Nick]," Nate said.

"He was doing what he thought was right. He was like 'I don't want to see my brother take no shots. I don't think they pay us well enough to be taking [expletive] ass whoopings like this.' ... My brother fights. He's experienced in fighting and he understands. I understand, too."

Nate would not want to be on the other end up as a cautionary tale like Junior Dos Santos after the second brutal beating he took at the hands of Cain Velasquez in less than a year earlier this fall.

"I just saw the last Junior dos Santos fight with Cain Velasquez. I'm like 'what the [expletive] is wrong? Does this guy have friends?' ," Diaz wondered out loud.

"For me, if my partner is fighting and he's not doing well and I get time to talk to him or if it's early in a round I'm gonna say 'if he doesn't start doing better and keeps catching punches and shots I'm gonna throw this towel.' He's gonna have to be mad at me later but I'm the one who's going to have to go to sleep at night thinking how I let you get your ass whooped.

"He's a soldier, he wasn't going to quit. A fighter ain't gonna quit. That's when it's up to your friends and your brothers to not let you die."

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