After thirteen years as a professional MMA fighter, UFC welterweight Nick Diaz needed a break. The bombastic contender essentially announced his retirement (again) after a title loss to Georges St. Pierre in March of 2013, but as he explains to reporters during a media call Wednesday, it's clear that the "retirement" was a means to an end.
"I wanted some time off and you don't really get time off in the UFC without retiring or getting hurt," Diaz explains, before throwing in a passive insult at his welterweight rivals.
"And I guess I don't break easy, like some of these guys."
Diaz has clearly grown weary of the grueling fighter lifestyle. He's back in the UFC, with a fight scheduled at middleweight against returning former kingpin Anderson Silva on the Super Bowl weekend UFC card in early 2015.
Diaz wanted a big fight to make his time and effort worthwhile. But ultimately, Diaz said he simply had to decide if he was going to truly never fight again.
"I've been looking for, pretty much, the biggest fight I could get myself into. Just like always," he says.
"It was more about my options of whether I'm getting back in there and fighting, or not."
Diaz has decided to fight again, and he's happy with what the UFC will pay him to do so. "Yeah, I can't complain. I can't ask for anything more with the deal that I've made," he maintains.
If Diaz can't complain, he still doesn't sound too enthusiastic about fighting again. The fighter has openly said that he's enjoyed not getting "punched around" for the past year or so, and he insists that he won't enjoy doing it again.
The physical punishment is one thing. But, as Diaz says, he don't break easy.
More than that, it would appear, Diaz is fatigued from the mental stress of fighting almost every day, in some form or another, since he was a child. It's also clear that Diaz feels he's different than most other professional fighters.
Sure, all of them go through tough training camps and go through the stress of fighting for sport in a cage. Diaz's fighting attitude and spirit come from a place further back than his career as a professional athlete, however.
"You've got to understand that I've fought at least 37 fights, maybe more than half of that for the UFC and it's ...when you get into a fight," Diaz's voice trails off for a moment before he continues.
"When you get into a fight in high school or you live in a small town and you have some sort of conflict with somebody, you need to go outside every day and deal with that. So, basically, you're going to have to deal with knowing that you have a fight. And, it's always been like that for me and after 37 fights and sixteen years of being extra serious...," Diaz trails off again before mumbling something difficult to understand.
Perhaps Nick Diaz is a born fighter. Maybe his environment also helped equip him with the hard-earned psychological tools to be tough enough to fight for a living.
However, if Nick Diaz is a fighter - born and bred - if he's so good at fighting other men that it doesn't make sense for him to do anything else with his life right now, it's clear that the Stockton native feels it as a burden as well as blessing.
"It's pretty rough," he says.
"I don't recommend anybody be a fighter. Fighting is not something that I enjoy doing, it's something that I do, something that I feel I have to do and that's just the way it is. There's a lot to it, when it comes to martial arts."
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