Nate Diaz was denied the Conor McGregor double, falling to a majority decision loss (48-47, 47-47, 48-47) at UFC 202 on Saturday night. After what has already been dubbed one of the fights of the year by fans and media alike, and with their rivalry all square at one a piece, could we see the trilogy fight happen sooner rather than later? The Stockton superstar certainly hopes so.
“I’m not doing s**t until we go for round three,” said Diaz. “You won’t be seeing me until then. If they want to set it up as soon as possible, let’s do it. But I don’t think it’s a very good business move for him to be taking any other fights, and he’s a businessman, so we’ll see what happens.”
With the two having fought at 170lb twice, surely the next time must be at what many consider to be their natural weight class of 155lb. Although having never missed weight, it’s clear to see cutting to 145lb is a tall order for McGregor and the older he gets the tougher it becomes on the body.
With a massive spotlight on weight cutting and fighter health in the sport right now fighting at 155lb would perhaps be the best thing for his long term health. Following the fight, McGregor was adamant the next time the pair meet it will be at lightweight and Diaz has no problems with that.
“I’ve been a lightweight the whole time,” said Diaz. “I think I walked into the cage tonight probably at 177, 176, 175. F*ck maybe lighter. Hell yeah. That’s what I wanted this fight at so I could have a six-pack. You know you wanted a picture with a six-pack.”
The squeaky wheel gets the grease and Diaz has had a stellar 12 months all sparked by the now infamous post fight interview with Joe Rogan after beating Michael Johnson last December. He called his shot, he wanted McGregor and although it took a Rafael dos Anjos injury for him to get that slot, he set that fight up for himself. Although it didn’t go his way on the night this weekend, Diaz, as always, wasn’t short for words and threw a few zingers at McGregor but not before taking a moment to highlight what he believes is a shift in the sport.
“Change is happening right now,” Diaz said. “If you want to be successful in this business and you want to do good in this business, you’re going to have to follow the leader. And if you’re going to say that somebody else is the leader, you got it wrong. Look at Conor. What did Conor do for this fight? He did exactly what I told his ass to do. He hired these people and that was a good job, but who taught you how to do that? Like, sh*t, if you think that I’m tripping and just talking out of my ass, then you’re obviously not that bright because I’ve supposed to have been fired already 20 times from this organization, and look where I’m at now.”
McGregor cleared $3m (a new UFC record) and Diaz $2m respectively in disclosed pay for UFC 202. At a time when fighter pay is also a massive story in the MMA news cycle, that in of itself is a statement. Having said that no matter how much money he earns Diaz feels it won’t be enough and he won’t stop shouting about it and urges his fellow fighters to do the same.
“It’s never going to be enough,” said Diaz. “Look at my face, and I’m okay. Some people got this face and they’re all in the back crying somewhere probably. It’s always going to (need to) be more, and until people start saying that and representing for that, I don’t even know what you’re doing this for. And if you don’t think like that, you don’t work hard enough. So I think getting in here and fighting is a good cause for spitting out what I feel I deserve, and if you’re not spitting what you feel you deserve, if you’re okay with it, then you don’t work hard enough. That’s where I’m at and that’s why they’re where they’re at.”