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Nate Diaz feels he's being 'strong-armed' into Matt Brown fight

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The UFC announced last week that Nate Diaz is expected to vault back up to welterweight and meet Matt Brown in a battle of bonkers forward pressure on July 11 at UFC 189. The pairing sounded nice in theory, but things are rarely so simple in the world of the Diaz brothers. Less than 24 hours after the fight was announced, Diaz told MMAFighting.com that his date with Brown was effectively decided without his consent, and as a veteran with over eight years of UFC experience under his belt, he wasn't pleased about the slight.

Diaz appeared on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour to elaborate on his situation. The younger son of Stockton admitted that he remains interested by the UFC's offer to fight Brown, but maintained that at this point the promotion's bout announcement is far from official.

"I was told the Brown fight was talked about but they were supposed to work out a deal and figure it all out, negotiate the fight the next Monday. Then all of a sudden (it's announced)," Diaz said. "I never necessarily okayed the fight, the fight was never negotiated, and then all of a sudden I was getting blown up about the fight.

"I think that's a great fight, everybody would want to see that fight -- I would if I was just a fight fan, that sounds like an awesome fight, like a fight you'd like to see. But it was never talked about, and it kind of feels like I'm being forced into a fight instead of talked to and dealt with fairly."

Diaz (17-10) first aired his grievances publicly four days ago, yet he maintains that no representatives from the UFC have personally contacted him in the time since to hash out any issues or settle on a contract.

"They just have the push power," Diaz said. "They say I'm fighting and I'm fighting now, so I don't know. I don't think so. It don't work like that. Maybe with all these other guys out here, but I think if you're going to fight somebody next Saturday, I'm not going to just say that you're going to fight somebody and assume you can show up. I'm probably going to call you and make sure you can show up, right? Talk about it.

"I haven't (talked to anybody), but if it was dealt with properly and the circumstances were better, then I'm all aboard. That'd be a great fight, especially with a fighter like that."

Despite being just 29 years old, Diaz is one of the longest tenured fighters in the UFC's lightweight division. He helped usher in the UFC's second attempt at a lightweight division when he captured the TUF 5 title in 2007, and has since compiled a 12-8 record against some of the biggest names in the sport, defeating the likes of Donald Cerrone, Jim Miller, and Gray Maynard while often headlining or co-headlining shows to solid ratings.

Like his brother Nick, Diaz has also never been one to shy away from speaking his mind, and those charms have endeared him to a large contingent of fight fans. It's the reason Diaz remains one of the bigger draws of the 155-pound division despite his ups and downs, and it's one of the reasons that Diaz was surprised when the UFC announced his fight as a sidebar to an already stacked UFC 189 pay-per-view rather than its own entity.

"I'm okay with being on the undercards and stuff, whatever, but that's definitely a main event fight right there," Diaz said, "Especially with the fight cards that have been going on. It's ridiculous. I just, they're making a humongous card and it's benefiting the main event, and I don't got nothing against the main event, that's great for them, but those are the circumstances I'm talking about. No one negotiated, no one ever told me what, where, when, and how. I just heard maybe Matt Brown, maybe Anthony Pettis.

"These are the fights I'm looking, big fights and exciting fights. I'm not into fighting boring people, fighting boring fights, and being on boring fight cards, which this one wouldn't be. But I would really like to know a little bit more about what I'm doing, instead of just, you know, being strong-armed into a fight. I don't need to hear that I'm fighting this guy before it was even negotiated or worked out, and now I'm saying ‘no, that fight is not official,' and now it's like I'm the guy not taking the fight or pulling out of a fight. But that's not the situation at all because I like this fight. I just would like to be, I don't know, appreciated a little better and make sure stuff is confirmed before just blowing it out of proportion."

Diaz has been out of action since last December, when he ended a year-long stalemate with the UFC with a unanimous decision loss at UFC on FOX 13 to Rafael dos Anjos, the same man who now calls himself UFC lightweight champion. That fight was Diaz's first following comments made by UFC President Dana White that Diaz wasn't a "needle-mover," and Diaz spoke extensively throughout fight week about his troubles with the promotion during his year away.

From the outside, the animosity between the two sides briefly appeared to be reconciled after last week's fight announcement, but now Diaz is left discouraged once again by what he perceives to be the lack of respect he receives from the UFC despite his 20-fight tenure of service.

"What happened with this Matt Brown fight is the same thing that happened with the last fight," Diaz said. "They didn't really, it was just kind of like, ‘you're fighting.' Well then I guess I'm fighting. It's all good, it's in the past, it already happened. I just, I'm not into being tricked into fighting anymore. I think I should have a little more say. I think I'm older now, and like I said, if I'm going to fight, I think it should be worth my while, not just because they say I'm fighting and now I'm fighting.

"If someone got ahold of me, that'd be great," Diaz added. "If not, it's all good too. I don't need to fight. Like I said, I don't need to fight my life away. I'm all good with not fighting, so if they want to work that out, that'd be great. If not, I'll be watching and tuning into the fights and making sure everything is going good and taking some time off relaxing."