Since making his UFC debut in 2007 Nate Diaz has become one of the most popular fighters in the promotion’s history, but he actually got his start much longer ago in a bare knuckle MMA fight on July 20th, 2002, at the age of just 17. Diaz has always been known as a solid boxer with fantastic Jiu-Jitsu and it’s interesting to see how much of his style has remained the same since his teenage years. Diaz actually took on a much bigger and clearly older opponent by the name of Robert Limon and he maintained his notoriously cool composure the whole way through to victory.
At the time of the video, MMA was still an incredibly young sport and the number of opportunities or young fighters were few and far between. This might help explain why the future UFC star was fighting grown men behind closed doors, as it would have been incredibly hard to find promotions willing to stage fights between two teenagers. Diaz had begun training martial arts at the age of 11 with his older brother Nick so despite being the younger man in this fight, it’s entirely possible that he would have had just as much training as his opponent.
Martial arts and fighting have been lifelong practices for the Diaz brothers, and Nate was rewarded with the third degree on his BJJ black belt by his long-time coach and mentor Cesar Gracie just recently as a result. While this bare knuckle experience was nothing like a professional MMA fight, it was no doubt invaluable experience that would have served Nate Diaz well as he moved to make his official debut the following year.
The footage of Nate Diaz taking on Robert Limon in a bare knuckle MMA fight at 17 was uploaded to the official YouTube channel of Jiu Jitsu World:
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