LAS VEGAS -- At this point, it seems like a foregone conclusion that the trilogy fight between Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor is destined to happen, whether it's sometime soon or later on down the road.
McGregor evened the score at one apiece with a grueling decision win over Diaz on Saturday night at UFC 202, and afterward Diaz made things clear that he isn't in a hurry to fight again unless it is the Irishman standing across from him.
"I'm not doing sh*t until we go for round three," Diaz said at the event's post-fight press conference. "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."
McGregor echoed Diaz's sentiments about the inevitability of a trilogy fight, although he also left the door open for other bouts to take place before the two rivals set up their rubber match.
UFC president Dana White has long asserted that McGregor's next fight will be a defense of the UFC featherweight title, and while McGregor was noncommittal about that idea, he did insist that a third bout against Diaz would be contested at lightweight, rather than welterweight -- a condition which Diaz gladly accepted.
"I've been a lightweight the whole time," Diaz said. "I think I walked into the cage tonight probably at 177, 176, 175. F*ck, maybe lighter. So hell yeah, that's what I wanted this fight at, so I could have a six-pack. You know you want to be in a picture with a six-pack."
One thing is certain, and that is by putting on one of the best fights of the year at UFC 202, Diaz and McGregor put themselves in the driver's seat for their UFC careers moving forward. Both men are more popular than ever, and both earned a pretty penny at UFC 202, with Diaz and McGregor respectively banking $2 million dollar and $3 million disclosed purses, the latter of which broke the previous record of $2.5 million set by Brock Lesnar at UFC 200.
A third fight between the two would only be even bigger and would bring with it another massive payday. So while Diaz may have lost to McGregor at UFC 202, he believes he made good on his promise that the game would change after the pair's rematch.
"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 hopped on a bike -- a little amateur style, he didn't have no clips, he didn't have no helmet, that's not how you ride but he tried -- and he hired all top-10 people to come in from wherever.
"He hired these people and that was a good job, but who taught you how to do that? Your sensei here, man. It's like, follow the leader as far as the martial artists, follow the leader as far as the businessmen. 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. Still doing my thing on the main card."
As for the financials of the eventual rubber match, Diaz reiterated a mantra he has long maintained, explaining that no matter the dollar amount, it wouldn't be enough for what he and McGregor put themselves through.
"It's never going to be enough," Diaz said, his face bruised and swollen. "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."