Over the past few weeks, the mixed martial arts world has been abuzz with whispers of a Floyd Mayweather versus Conor McGregor boxing mega-fight that, in all likelihood, will never actually happen. Yet, frustratingly, the story has refused to die -- in part because of mainstream media latching onto an easy headline, and in part because both Mayweather and McGregor continue to bring it up -- and Nate Diaz is confident the whole thing is meant to be a distraction from the real matters at hand.
"I hear all this Mayweather-McGregor sh*t, and I feel like that's just a big old publicity stunt to hide the fact that he got his ass whooped," Diaz said of McGregor on a special Wednesday edition of The MMA Hour.
"It's rumors somebody is letting out, because they're both benefitting off each other's fanbases and they're both building off of 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. The media is working their way and they're loving it. They're probably having dinner together every night."
Diaz infamously defeated McGregor on short-notice at UFC 196, submitting the reigning UFC featherweight champion with a second-round rear-naked choke. A rematch between the two rivals was booked for UFC 200, but then scrapped after McGregor refused to fly to Las Vegas to fulfill promotional obligations.
Negotiations to reschedule the rematch have resumed over the past few weeks, however the timetable for those negotiations has run concurrently as the Mayweather-McGregor talk continues to heat up, and Diaz thinks the whole thing is a ploy from McGregor to use as leverage in his negotiations with the UFC.
"That's exactly what I think," Diaz said. "Because every time I hear more about it, I get a call. I'm like, hey, I call your bluff. Fight that mother*cker then. I'll be right here. I'm the only one out of the three of us that can say I'll whip both of their asses in one night, because Conor can't say that. Floyd definitely cannot say that.
"You just got boxed up. You didn't get tapped out. He got beat up and shot. And I hear Mayweather saying [McGregor] wins most of his fights by fighting stand-up. I'm like, not with me. He was losing the stand-up part. He took a shot, that was his way out. I just think it's all fake and phony, and people should recognize that. Let's see that, Mayweather. I call your bluff. Fight Mayweather, mother*cker. Let's see how that goes. I'll be right here sitting back like, okay. And what's going to happen? Mayweather is going to f*cking whoop his ass in a boxing match."
For Diaz, the idea of McGregor fighting Mayweather has always been ridiculous. Diaz has trained with professional boxers throughout a majority of his career and is a main sparring partner of top-ranked boxer Andre Ward. While Diaz may not have many knockouts on his pro record, a large part of that is because he often staggers opponents on the feet then submits them on the ground, as he did to McGregor in March. So when Diaz sees recent videos of McGregor sparring in boxing gyms, he can't help but laugh.
"You got this guy f*cking bouncing around sparring with some clown over at Freddie Roach's? I don't give a f*ck about that guy. You're flossing that guy? I'll beat that guy's ass too," Diaz said.
"That fool (McGregor) gassed out in six minutes and panicked or something. I'm like, you panicked? Don't panic. You can't panic. With Floyd Mayweather, you'd get knocked out. That's amateur style boxing. If I go in and box somebody in a boxing ring and they're good for three rounds, four rounds, and then they just wear off and start losing completely, that's amateur sh*t. You've got to be in there for 12 rounds ready to rock and roll the whole time. If you lose a couple rounds, you've got to be able to recover, recoup, and come back in a few rounds."
Ultimately, Diaz is confident that the game McGregor is playing is simply a business move, and for that he doesn't begrudge the Irishman because Diaz is dancing the same dance with the UFC as well.
"This mother*cker is on top of the world because the UFC wanted his ass in, and the whole Irish fanbase, and they gave him some push," Diaz said. "They did that for him and got a little ahead of themselves, and probably didn't realize that. But I did. They wanted me to fight him at UFC 200 a week [after UFC 196] or whatever, a couple months later, and I'm like, can't I sit back for a year and a half and fight Dennis Siver and become the biggest draw and the biggest talk of the town? I don't think they want any of that. Instead that start talking about Mayweather and McGregor, and this is the new biggest thing. I'm like, hold up, didn't he just get his ass whooped two months ago?
"All I'm saying is, he's getting pushed. They created that monster. They did that to him. My sh*t is off of straight realness."