T Nation

Bareknuckle Boxing and Nick Diaz


Found this on the UG.

The article draws parallels between Diaz's unconventional style and bareknuckle practices of old (1800s Broughton Rules), particularly those used by a fighter by the name of Dan Mendoza.

Thought it was worth sharing.


Interestingly, the better a boxer seems to be, the more rules he breaks.

Many, many boxing goats -if not the majority- are at least somewhat unconventional.


Also, the alleged "shift punching" myth needs to die.


Can I get an explanation on this?

The shifting isn't exactly a new, unproven, or esoteric thing.

Or is "shift punching" something other than what I am thinking of, i.e. The Fitzsimmon's Shift/Killing Shift?


Robert A


I'd also like to know. I just learned about shift punching and now I find out it's a myth! lol


Because they are unnaturally talented and can do things that regular fighters simply cannot.

This is not a causation kind of thing - i.e., breaking more rules will make you a better fighter. For 98 percent of us, it will get you knocked out inside three rounds.


I think this is over analyzed and Diaz's boxing skills over rated.

Diaz's style isn't rocket science. He's a tough pressure fighter with long reach in a sport where still only a small percentage of guys are talented and experienced strikers who possess the footwork or counter punching ability to deal with a pressure fighter.

Is it just me or is it a common trend in MMA to over analyze what a certain fighter does? Similar articles used to appear about BJ penn while he was the top dog, then he got smashed and nobody talks about him. Here's a novel idea: people look interesting while they are winning.


It's not rocket science, but it is interesting somewhat. He fights the same way every time: Get opponent moving backwards, pitter patter, constantly land shots, go to the body along the cage, absorb shots. Despite this, no one has really 'figured him out' in the striking department. You're probably right with the footwork bit.

I have a similar interest in Dominick Cruz. A big bantam with pristine takedown defense and some of the funkiest movement in the business.


Well I think the reason no-one has figured him out on their feet so to speak, is because no-one he's faced can really claim to be a high level striker. I mean if we look at his record, the only person he's fought who is really a good striker is Daley, and as I remember their fight, Diaz was in very deep water at one point.

I think you give a him a high level striker who also has a solid ground game or at least TD defense, and you've got a recipe for Diaz's worst fight.


He doesn't pitter patter. He mixes up light punches with hard punches. His way of fighting, just drains guys. He puts so much pressure on you, guys that normally do not tire, seem to tire very quickly.

I can't stand dominick cruz, the guy can't break an egg with his punches. I think Faber is a better fighting and hurt cruz on a few occasions during their last fight. faber was just a tad not active enough. But hopefully, in their upcoming 3rd fight, he will fight a bit better and get the belt from cruz.


Daley, Penn and Noons come to mind. Noons has pretty decent hands, as does Penn.

Penn was doing very well for a round (that he won), then it seemed like the body punches took it's toll and he stopped moving.

If and when Diaz loses to Georges, I'd love to see him take on Alves. I'd say Kampmann, but I don't see Martin winning that.

As to his worst fight, so far they've all been against solid top control guys, the kind of fighter he hasn't faced in years and will face in February. Deigo, Riggs, no Georges.


Diaz vs Alves could be a good fight, as could Diaz vs Story or Diaz vs Fitch.

Nick is a very "busy" fighter who is a great example of "the best defense is a good offense". He also has a great chin and long reach for his weight class, the combination of which makes him a difficult nut to crack for a lot of fighters.


I am still trying to figure out this "shift punching" thing.

On the related subjects:

Penn vs Diaz
I agree with RogueVampire RE Diaz. Diaz vs Penn looked good for Penn on paper, but I thought BJ could find a way to lose and he did. Diaz comes with a high work rate, good chin, and seemingly great cardio. Those things play into BJ's weaknesses quite well.

The reach advantage makes BJ landing his jab less of a sure thing. BJ had/has "great" boxing by MMA standards. He has head movement, timing, power, and uses his jab to set up other punches (as opposed to simply jabbing all night a la GSP). Thing is; he needs his jab to land in order to do it. He also likes to stand in front of his man "in the pocket". This is harder to do against someone taller, and much harder to get things going when you cannot keep up with the other guy's work rate.

We also have 2 Penn vs Edger fights to watch that tell us what BJ does when he cannot get his jab established.

Bareknuckle Boxing vs MMA boxing vs Boxing

Rules/competition drive the real style differences here.

In modern, gloved, western boxing there is very little to be gained by concentrating on clinching. Cameras/re play, enforcement, and general public responses have made much of the "fouling" or "rough fighting" of the early gloved era a poor gambit. The incidental/accidental head butts, elbows, and clinching that was standard into the 50's is a rarity now.

So, if you were developing a young fighter would you spend time training it or just working the jab? Modern reporting shuns the "dirty fighter" and the reffing is done to limit its benefits. Amateur boxing still rewards quantity of blows vs. effect of blows and that colors the style as well (this may be changing, there was a thread about it).

Bareknuckle/London Prize Ring rules were sort of a boxing/Greco hybrid as far as technique goes. Keep in mind there were no judges, so any strategy that costs you energy and DOES NOT move your opponent further to being unable to continue is wasted. There was no round limit and your hands were unprotected. This means that not wasting energy or hurting yourself in offense was a much bigger consideration. So, a more plodding slow paced style starts to make a lot of sense.

Add the fact that the surface could have been hard wood, dirt, stone, or a grass field and much of the footwork that makes modern boxing what it is becomes impossible. The final note; a knockout count was 30 seconds with an additional standing eight to come to scratch as opposed to 10 sec and there were no set max of rounds. A round ended when either man touched the ground with any part of their body other than their feet. So how would you fight under these rules?

In MMA boxing is just one facet of the game. Hell, it may not even be a "facet" unless we consider all punching to be "boxing" proper. In MMA everyone needs to contend with kicks, clinching, takedowns, knees, elbows, etc. at least for defense. Whatever a fighter wants to accomplish offensively also plays into how they need to stand and move. In another thread JonnyTMT posted a couple fight videos of Thai boxers doing what they do. If they were competing under amateur boxing rules than their stances and movement would be suicide.

Under Thai rules there are VERY good reasons for doing what they do. Are they susceptible to single and double leg takedowns? Fuck, maybe...probably yes, after all there must be a reason wrestlers and Judo guys stand the way they do. Of course wrestlers are not dealing with getting hit. The varied "tool box" of MMA really opens up style options.

Final note on this topic; let us consider style vs Style. There is clumsiness with these terms. Boxing is a style. In boxing we have all read/heard "styles make fights". Pac and Mayweather are both boxers. In MMA terms we would write that as their "style". They also have very different "styles".

Nick Diaz and his style (or is it Style) of boxing
Yes it looks different than most boxing. It also looks different than most MMA stand up. If it was really the be all end all for dealing with takedowns, than Nate Diaz( who uses a style quite like his brother)would not have had the showing he did against Guida.


Robert A


I think Diaz vs Alves would be fantastic. Alves gas tank would be my question since I don't see Nick going for takedowns.

I think Diaz beats Story. I don't think Rick Story has decent enough takedowns or stand up not to get banged up badly on the feet. I also do not think his grappling is good enough to make taking Diaz down a sure course either.

Fitch would do to Nick what Guida did to Nate. Fitch would take him down at will. He would smother him. I do not think Nick sub's Fitch off his back. I would love to see how Nick manages to get angry at Fitch. Would he take offense to the lack of statements Fitch makes to the press?


Robert A


As always excellent stuff Rob.

I don't think Diaz stands the way he does for the takedown defense. I started watching MMA around the time he fought Deigo, in a fight where he essentially did not defend any takedowns and elected to fight off his back. He fought Sherk a little while after and displayed improved defense from that fight on. The crux of his striking style remained the same though (ever since his fight with Lawler).

I suspect Alves might be a tough fight for Nick because of the leg kicks. Diaz tends not to check them, and I fully expect Georges to use them to keep Nick from getting a rhythm going.

Fitch? I'm not sure. The thing with Jon is, while he's only been beaten by Georges, he's struggled with less than top 10 competition, particularly other good wrestlers (Pierce, Penn, and some guy who's name I forgot). He's also not the takedown machine he's hyped out to be. Nick can defend takedowns off the cage and clinch quite well, and that's where Fitch gets almost all of his.

The Fitch fight is more interesting to me, mostly because how often do you get to see two vegans, one college educated and another a 'gangsta' from Stockton, go at it?

Lol no, I jest. No Fitch fight interests me.