After an underwhelming performance in his title shot, Nate Diaz explains how an early punch to the eye "screwed" him against Ben Henderson.
In the main event of Saturday's UFC On Fox 5, UFC Lightweight champion Ben Henderson had the most dominant performance of his championship reign so far. For the full 25 minutes of the fight he completely nullified the offense of challenger Nate Diaz. Henderson frustrated Diaz on the feet with repeated low licks, hung with him on the ground, and even dropped him at one point with a powerful right hand.
At the post-fight press conference, Diaz said an early punch to the eye was to blame for his poor performance (via MMA Mania):
Diaz was on a three fight win streak heading into his title shot with dominant victories over Takanori Gomi, Donald Cerrone, and the first ever finish of Jim Miller. If he can recover from the loss to Henderson and replicate those performances, he's sure to see another chance to fight for the belt.
I didn't perform the way I wish I could have. I got a punch in the eye pretty early in the fight and things were blurry. They never came back. I was waiting for it to recover, and when it did I was going to come back strong. But it never did. Ben did great. He landed the good shot early. It was blurry. I was screwed. If I would have tried to get up with anything, or tried to aggress too hard, I think things could've gotten worse. Like I said, I was trying to wait for the eye to recover, until I could see straight. Because I knew it was coming back and I knew I was going to come back strong from it, but I never did. I ran out of time with it, and it sucks. But whatever, that's what happens.
You know what, good for Diaz. He didn't blame an injury from training camp and still fought anyways. He didn't claim anyone cheated him out of anything. He admitted what a lot of fighters won't, he got hurt during the fight and tried to recover and soldier on and it just didn't go his way.
I honestly don't view this as an excuse, this would be a text book example of an explanation as to why he did not perform how he wanted.