Nate Diaz has quickly skyrocketed in popularity due to his two-fight saga with Conor McGregor, but he has always been an exciting fighter to watch.
The winner of The Ultimate Fighter Season 5, Diaz has made a career habit of earning post-fight awards due to his memorable performances inside the Octagon. In fact, he is tied for the record of most post-fight awards of any UFC fighter at 15, and holds the most Fight of the Night awards in UFC history with eight.
Eight years ago today, Diaz received his first Fight of the Night award against Josh Neer. On September 17, 2008, Diaz headlined his first main event in the UFC, his fourth fight since winning TUF.
Diaz came into the fight as a rising prospect in the lightweight division, having never lost in the UFC and holding a 9-2 pro MMA record. Neer had established himself as a serious threat in the division as well with a 24-6-1 pro MMA record, and was on a three-fight win streak.
In one of the most back-and-forth fights in Diaz's career, these men traded blows wherever the fight went. They both rocked the other fighter, took the fight to the ground, and had multiple submission attempts throughout the bout. At the end of it all, both fighters thought they had it won.
The fight went the distance for only the second time in Diaz's career. The judges scored it 28-29, 29-28, 29-28 in Diaz's favor, giving him the split decision win. The fact that either fighter could have ended the fight at multiple times led to the pair to a well-earned FOTN bonus. It was Neer's second FOTN Award and Diaz's first.
Today, Josh Neer no longer fights in the UFC, but he left a lasting impact. In his 6-9 UFC career, he managed to earn three FOTN awards, going 2-1 in those bouts.
Diaz meanwhile is still with the UFC. His most recent fight with Conor McGregor earned him his 15th Fight of the Night bonus. Through his iconic MMA career, Diaz has cemented himself as a must watch fighter, and his run as a UFC record-setter began eight years ago today.