Nate Diaz’s magic: He wins even when he loses
A brief recap Nate Diaz’s UFC 263 experience:
Smokes weed (his own personal brand) at the prefight press conference.
Enters the Octagon as a +365 underdog at BetMGM, an aging working man’s hero against a far more skilled welterweight from England named Leon Edwards.
Gets beaten and bloodied for 24-plus minutes — with literally three separate deep gushers that would have caused most mortals to tap out but Diaz to hardly blink. Additionally, there is a left leg that looks half broken due to Edwards kicks.
Survives mainly by clowning, preening, posturing, trash talking and whatever else it took to stay upright as blood drained down his face and neck, as announcer Joe Rogan put it.
Absolutely rocked Edwards with a final-minute, desperation combo that was as unorthodox as it was vicious — right-handed slap (straight outta Stockton) and vicious left that put Edwards nearly out on his feet. “He wobbled me,” Edwards said.
Nearly wins but can’t finish the deal, probably because he screws around too much in the final fleeting seconds, taunting Edwards rather than attacking full blast. “I wish I had took his ass the [expletive] out,” Diaz said.
Loses on all scorecards, 49-46.
Invites everyone — literally everyone — to his house for a "fat ass" party. It will be sponsored by an alcohol company he can't remember the name of — "Daddy, uh, daddy drinks," he calls it. (AKA: Nelk Boys Happy Dad Seltzer.)
Leaves to the same roaring cheers that he arrived.
Nate Diaz has won just a single fight in five years and it doesn’t even matter. He got pummeled on Saturday night and it doesn’t even matter. He looked “like a horror movie,” as Rogan put it, and it doesn’t even matter.
He was a wreck, outclassed in every facet of the game except for the one that has always defined him — toughness.
There he was in the end, making an opponent finish the job. He never quits. He never seems fazed. If you don’t drop him (or get a doctor to stop it) he’ll go all 25, force the broadcasters to talk about his triathlon hobby and remain dangerous to the bitter end.
The fans will love him even more after what was otherwise a lopsided loss because no matter the odds nor the reality, Nate Diaz comes and gives them what they want. He’s the throwback to a simpler time in the sport, when the fighters weren’t refined killing machines such as Edwards. He’s rough around the edges in every way — personality and fighting style.
It’s why he remains on the all-time box office draws for the UFC, an authentic marketing machine that delivers every time on his promises — namely not caring about anything.
Diaz is 36 and has been in the fight game since 19. He has one fight left on his UFC contract, but despite the lack of wins — or fights at all — has the promotion where he wants it.
Edwards is the future of MMA but Diaz is the bank. Does Diaz get the trilogy with Conor McGregor? Does he get another shot at Jorge Masvidal, who bloodied him up back in 2019, with no less than the president of the United States watching? Does he find some other contender that intrigues him?
Or does he get to bounce into the lucrative world of these celebrity boxing deals — the pay-per-view potential of Nate Diaz vs. Jake Paul is breathtaking. That is if Paul would dare.
Who knows? He might just go back to Stockton and ride his bike and smoke for another year. Anything is possible because Diaz somehow manages to create the entertaining mayhem that mixed martial arts is built on.
All credit to Leon Edwards, who was brilliant, has now gone ten fights without a loss and is destined for a welterweight title shot.
Edwards won the fight.
Nate Diaz won the night though. And that was before whatever went down at that house party.
More from Yahoo Sports: