In a rare and revealing interview yesterday, Nate Diaz gave Ariel Helwani and viewers of The MMA Hour insight into his feelings on a proposed rematch between him and featherweight champion Conor McGregor at UFC 202 in August.
Famously, Diaz submitted the Irishman in round two of the Dubliner’s first fight at welterweight at UFC 196 in March. Since then their rematch, which was scheduled for the main event for UFC 200, has been cancelled following a public standoff between ‘The Notorious’ and his employers.
The promotion is now trying to slate the rematch for UFC 202. However, the general public seems to be convinced that McGregor will face all-time boxing great Floyd Mayweather instead.
Discussing the situation with Helwani from his Stockton home yesterday, Diaz seems to have noticed a pattern with the Mayweather headlines coinciding with him being asked to sign to fight McGregor. That being said, he is willing to call UFC’s bluff and see if they will allow the Mayweather bout to take place unless the promotion is willing to “compensate” him properly for the rematch.
“I think the Mayweather thing is a publicity stunt,” Diaz said. “It’s great for both of them. Boxing followers will start following Conor, MMA followers are going to start following Floyd. They’re all benefiting, and no one is losing, so they're going to keep the ball rolling.
“But every day I hear about this Mayweather shit, it’s always about (the same time that I am asked) am I going to take the fight? It seems like this is a pretty big deal, can I get compensated for it? I’m like, ‘hey, I call your bluff. Fight that motherfucker (Mayweather) then, I’ll be right here.’”
Diaz also believes that the thousands of reports about the proposed boxing bout between the two stars is being used to allow them to gain more exposure from fans that follow their respective disciplines.
“I hear all this Mayweather-McGregor shit and I feel like that’s just a big old publicity stunt to hide the fact that he got his ass whooped. It’s rumors somebody is letting out because they’re both benefitting off each other’s fan bases and they’re both building off it.
“They don’t care if it happens or not, they’re both winning right now from the talk even happening. That’s the truth about what’s really going on. The media is working their way. They’re loving it. They’re probably having dinner together every night.”
Mayweather’s wish to take on McGregor has been ridiculous ever since the bout was first proposed. It doesn’t take genius to realize that Mayweather would outclass McGregor in a boxing ring and that the Irishman would do the same thing to ‘Money’ if their contest took place under the unified rules of mixed martial arts.
The fact that Diaz highlighted that the news keeps gaining more momentum just before he has been approached to sign for the McGregor rematch makes sense. He openly admitted that he made his biggest payday at UFC 196, and with McGregor underlining his wishes to take back his sole UFC loss, the Mayweather talk could rush him into making a decision.
Diaz taking a strong stance and holding out for the right amount of money, as he explained he would to Helwani, makes the rematch even more intriguing given that McGregor openly mocked his financial situation in the short build up to their meeting at UFC 196.
Diaz also pondered why he has not been given a big promotional push since his upset win over the featherweight champion. Having competed in the sport since his teenage years and after spending the guts of ten years working for the organization, a span of time in which contested 22 bouts in the Octagon, he feels he still isn’t being pushed to the forefront by the powers that be.
Comparatively, he pointed to McGregor’s win over Dennis Siver being enough to see him enter the title conversation at featherweight. Even before the bout between McGregor and Siver took place in Boston in January 2015, it was noted that the Russian striker would have been a perfect counterpart for McGregor to showcase his ability against, which he emphatically did before claiming a second round win.
“Conor McGregor is artificial. They pushed him and he wasn’t whooping all types of asses and shit. They put me in, I’ve been in fight after fight, I didn’t do no media, I didn’t do no shit. He is where he is now because the UFC kicked his ass and put him in gear and blew him up.
“How come he was such a big deal when he beat Dennis Siver? Who the fuck is Dennis Siver? Is that guy even ranked? I’m like, ‘Get the fuck out of here’.”
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