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Nate Diaz recalls role Gilbert Melendez played in his MMA career

Nate Diaz remembers when he first decided to take up MMA. His brother, Nick Diaz, was well on his way to a professional fighting career, and wanted someone to come along with him.

Now, several years later, Nate is a former winner of The Ultimate Fighter and is set to take part in the co-main event of UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem tonight on pay-per-view against Donald Cerrone.

All of this, however, wasn’t what Diaz had planned for himself.

“As soon as I finished school, I’d be sitting around the house and I wasn’t doing much. Nick said, ‘What are you doing? Why don’t you come train with me?’ And he threw a pair of gi pants at me,” said Diaz, in a recent interview with UFC’s website. “Back then, fighting and training in jiu-jitsu wasn’t a trendy thing.”

One fighter in particular, though, kept Diaz coming back to the gym – Gilbert Melendez, the current Strikeforce lightweight champ.

“I remember having wars with him,” Diaz said. “That was a rush just going down there. I’d tell Nick I’m gonna hang out a bit, and he’d say, ‘Gilbert’s coming.’ All right, let’s go. (Laughs) It was really good because it was a competitive thing, and at the same time, they were our friends.”

Catch Diaz-Cerrone on PPV with the broadcast starting at 10:00 PM EST.


MMATraining Take: A win over a red-hot Cerrone would vault Diaz up the ladder in the UFC, and even a strong showing would keep him among the list of contenders in a stacked division. This should be nothing short of a war between two athletes that go all-out every time they fight.


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