But that’s not necessarily the true Nate Diaz, according to CM Punk, the pro wrestler-turned-UFC welterweight contender who’s set to fight for the first time against Mickey Gall at UFC 203 next weekend. On Thursday, Punk, whose real name is Phil Brooks, revealed Diaz has a softer side.
“He was the nicest [expletive] guy,” Punk recently told Fox Sports.
Punk said he met Diaz at UFC 200 in July when a fan Punk was signing an autograph for pointed out Diaz, who was attempting to get Punk’s attention, in the crowd.
“I turned around, and I was on a riser, and Nate Diaz was on the ground, and he was, like, ‘Hey man, come here,’ ” Punk, 37, recalled. “I was like, ‘What’s up?’ ”
Diaz wanted to apologize for talking trash about Punk when the ex-WWE star first signed with UFC in 2014.
“He was like, ‘Hey man, I talked some [crap] before and I don’t know you and I’m sorry,’ and he’s like, ‘Gilbert [Melendez] and Ronda [Rousey] said that you’re a cool dude and they love you,’ ” Punk said of his and Diaz’s discussion. “I was like, ‘All right.’ I thought that was super, super cool of him. Super nice guy.”
Punk added: “I don’t know if he’ll get mad and this will ruin the image of Nate Diaz…”
If Diaz does get mad, he knows he can always settle the score in the Octagon — that is, if he now deems Punk a worthy opponent. In 2014, he did not.
“This guy don’t get to fight me,” Diaz said then. “He’s an amateur.”
Punk’s first bout will come against Mickey Gall, a scrappy young fighter who has just two professional fights — both wins — under his belt. Picking up the slack now that Diaz is the nice guy, Gall hasn’t had many nice things to say about Punk.
He recently insulted Punk’s skills after watching Fox Sports’ weekly episodic documentary about the fighter’s preparations, “The Evolution of Punk.”
The program follows Punk from when he first started training in early 2015 to this summer, and while Gall says he assumes Punk is better now than when he was filmed, he told Fox Sports earlier this week, “[Punk] moves like a wounded animal.”
“I just don’t see it in him,” the 24-year-old New Jersey native continued. “I’m sure he’s improved a lot — it’s just not going to be enough. There’s nothing I can see other than me dominating him.”
UFC 203, which features a main-event heavyweight title fight between current champ Stipe Miocic and Alistair Overeem, will air on pay-per-view Sept. 10, starting at 10 p.m. ET.