Nate Diaz detailed how a shoulder injury influenced his approach in his unsuccessful boxing match against Jake Paul. After his defeat in Dallas on Saturday, Diaz referenced a pre-existing shoulder injury that seemed consistent with his fight tactics – the UFC veteran consistently pressed against Paul in close quarters with his guard up. Paul managed to clinch a persuasive unanimous victory after ten rounds.
At the post-bout press conference, Diaz shared how this injury impacted his performance. He stated, “My coach, Richard Perez, was frustrated as my training was not up to standard. I should have been focusing on out-boxing him, but about a month ago I hurt my arm, and consequently altered my strategy. My right arm couldn’t handle the strain of jabs, so I switched to a close combat approach, turning every sparring session into a brawl, which is how the actual fight unfolded.”
Diaz confessed he should have kept a distance and circled Paul. Despite Perez’s disagreement, Diaz held his ground, stating he would never back out from a fight due to such an injury. He declared his intention to improve in his future matches, by training as a lightweight if he continues with boxing.
Diaz’s tactics kept him in the competition, but Paul, with his professional boxing experience, frequently outscored him. The fifth round marked a low for Diaz, with a head shot from Paul causing him to fall face-first onto the canvas. Although Diaz recovered, this gave Paul a significant lead in the scores.
The fight took place at 185 pounds, much heavier than Diaz’s usual UFC fighting weight. During his 15-year UFC career, Diaz mainly fought at 155 pounds, with some notable matches at 170 pounds. He expressed his preference to have remained lighter for this match.
Richard Perez, Diaz’s coach, commended his efforts at the press conference. He also admitted that the injury significantly hindered Diaz’s preparations, impacting his timing and ability to throw jabs effectively. Despite a previous knee injury, Perez emphasized Diaz’s determination, asserting that he’s no quitter.