The 30-year-old fighter says abstaining from meat, dairy, and eggs keeps him strong and running better.
Nate Diaz, the UFC fighter who pulled off an upset victory against featherweight champion and fan-favorite Conor McGregor earlier this month, spoke to Men’s Journal about his plant-based diet for the first time since the big win. “I like to promote the vegan industry,” Diaz said. “I hear a lot of criticism from people saying you need meat to be strong and for recovery, and it’s a bunch of bull, because I train harder than everybody.” The 30-year-old follows a trend gaining traction among professional fighters—Alex Caceres, James “Lightning” Wilks, CM Punk, and Diaz’s own brother Nick Diaz are all UFC names who have gone meat- and dairy-free to improve their performance. Diaz also shared how he ditched dairy at age 17, eliminating it from his diet for a month in preparation for a fight. When the match was over, Diaz dug into a “big bowl of fettucine alfredo,” thinking to himself, “Finally, I get to eat what I want.” The ensuing week of illness, headaches, and frequent bathroom trips was enough for the fighter to cut out dairy for good. “After that cleared up, I was like, ‘OK, I don’t need that anymore.’” Diaz said. “I felt better and realized I work better without that stuff.”