We all go through difficult times at one point or another in our lives. It doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, brown or from Mars–things happen.
It isn’t important what you’ve been through, what’s important is how you bounce back from it.
In the world of sports, there are few who symbolize the definition of a second chance more than Ulysses Diaz.
Whether he was running around creating mischief in the streets or just simply beating people up, Diaz was always up to something. It may have been fun at first, but it ultimately landed him in a position that he never saw coming.
“Unfortunately I spent some time in jail,” said Diaz during a recent interview with Round By Round MMA. “I did two years in there a little while ago, but I’m just glad it’s over.”
Jail could have broken Diaz. At the time he had no direction, nor did he understand what he wanted for his future. With his life seemingly spiraling out of control, jail gave him some valuable lessons. Being encased inside of those cell walls allowed him to reevaluate his life and continue what he loved doing most–fighting.
“I got into a couple altercations in there,” said Diaz as he gave an account of the fights he had during his stint in jail. “You’re surrounded by a bunch of guys who have a lot of animosity so it’s normal in there. Fights happen all the time when you’re there. I didn’t get into too many but I had my fair share. I went undefeated, 4-0 all wins by knockouts too,” said Diaz as an uncontrollable laughter followed soon after.
The fights may have been fun, but wasting two years of his life wasn’t. The time away from society put his life in perspective. Something he quite possibly wouldn’t have been able to do had he been on the streets.
Diaz was a brawler with a bad attitude. Never had he thought of himself as anything more than just that, but boy was he wrong.
“I was fighting in the street and getting in trouble. People would always tell me that I was a talented guy so why don’t I turn this into a career,” said Diaz. “But me being a knucklehead I never looked at it in that way. A couple years back I had a come to God moment, where I was saying that man I need to get off these streets and stop bullshitting and messing with the wrong people and just get my life together. I always wanted to be an athlete, especially a professional fighter. So I said I have to give this a try. The moment I got into it I loved it.”
In no way is Diaz advocating for anyone to go to jail, but in his case it helped him tremendously.
“It helped in many ways,” said Diaz. “I don’t praise being in prison, but it actually helped mold me into the person I am today.”
The person that Diaz is eluding to is an athlete who now competes on every level of combat sports.
“In October I had a boxing match, in December I did my first MMA fight where I won by knockout,” said Diaz. “I just did two Ju-Jitsu competitions in the month of January and now I have a bare knuckle fight coming up. I’m just trying to do it all.”
Call it making up for lost time. With two years of his life wasted behind bars, coupled with several years of simply not living up to his own potential, Diaz seems to be ready to put everything him.
That statement makes sense doesn’t it? Time waits for no one and Diaz has already squandered enough of it.
With that being said, that isn’t the reasoning behind his audacious behavior to chase his dreams. He just wants to lead by example.
“I’m showing myself and other people that it’s never too late and that no matter where you come from you can overcome anything” said Diaz. “I’ve been in four different combat sports in five months. I just want to leave a legacy and be an example for kids and my kids as well. I’m living the dream right now.”
For now, boxing, MMA and Ju-Jit Su are all going to take a backseat as Diaz will have his pro debut in the bare knuckle world. On paper, Diaz might be viewed as a newbie in the bare knuckle fight game, but he is actually far more experienced than you realize.
“I’ve been in a thousand bare knuckle fights, but this is my first sanctioned one under the lights doing it the right way,” said Diaz. “But I’ve been doing this my whole life. Up until a couple years ago I was fighting for free on the street but now I’m getting paid for it under the lights so I can’t wait.”
The excitement that Diaz currently enjoys stretches far beyond just simply getting paid for his fighting ability. He now believes that he serves a purpose to not just himself but to everyone across the world.
“I want to show people that, yeah I did mess up in my past, but I bounced back,” said Diaz. “And now, God willing I’ll become a world champion.”
That path to a world championship starts this Saturday night in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Diaz believes he is ready for everything, but isn’t expecting a long night.
“I’m going to win by knockout,” said Diaz. “There’s no doubt about it.”
Win, lose or draw, Diaz has already seemingly won with his positive attitude in his second chance at life.