When Donald Cerrone steps into the Octagon with Nate Diaz this Friday night at UFC 141 it won’t be his first run-in with the Stockton lightweight.
Before their fight was even set, Cerrone says he found out the hard way that a Diaz brother doesn’t shake hands with his peers.
“Really the only interaction I’ve had with Nate is at the open workout prior to this fight. We don’t even know we’re fighting each other at this point. I walk over to be like, ‘hey man, what’s going on?’ Shake his hand… he slaps my hand away and calls me a punk ass (expletive) and walks off. And I was like, ‘what? Alright.'”
Yep, that sounds about right.
The was Nate sees it though, he doesn’t want to be friendly with anyone he might fight and god forbid actually start thinking they’re a nice guy.
“Let’s just say for a second you’re fighting some maniac from the street who’s killed 20 people and they’re just like crazy as hell, but you get a fair fight with him,” Diaz said on Tuesday. “And he’s just like, biting his arm off and talking crazy [expletive]. And then, you’re going to fight this nice guy who goes to church and comes up and [says], ‘Hey, nice to meet you, it’s going to be a good fight.’ Who are you going to feel more comfortable fighting?”
Cerrone doesn’t see it that way, but he says he understands where Diaz is coming from.
“Whatever he has to do in his mind to justify his fighting tactics, that’s what he does,” Cerrone said. “I don’t care. I could fight Leonard, you know. That’s my best friend, we’ll go in there and get paid. That’s what we do for a living. So what he has to do to get ready, whether that’s talk [expletive] or not [be] friends with people, I understand where he’s coming from.”
Bottom line: Some fighters approach the fight game as nothing more than a profession. They don’t have to see their opponent as the enemy to find the motivation to compete. Then there are others like the Diaz brothers who take it more personally and need to hate the person standing across the cage to perform at their best. We just saw it with Nick Diaz and BJ Penn. Nick kept saying he didn’t want to fight BJ because they trained together before and he respected him. Then the weigh-ins come around and Nick damn near tries to fight on him on stage to get himself amped up for the fight. I can’t really fault them for not wanting to be buddy-buddy with people they’ll eventually have to punch in the face. The Diaz brothers just happen to take it to the extreme.
Image via Dave Mandel for Sherdog