Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor may be vastly different fighters from vastly different backgrounds, but despite all of the bad blood that has permeated throughout their rivalry, they share at least one thing in common -- their respect for the almighty dollar.
In a way that is unique from most athletes in the UFC, Diaz and McGregor share a healthy understanding that business and the fight game are intertwined. And while it has taken a long road for Diaz to reach the kind of big paydays that come with events like UFC 196 and UFC 202, he is confident he would've gotten there with or without an assist from McGregor.
"This guy talks about all these fighters like they're f*cking dumb, and he's right, they're all f*cking dumb," Diaz said Friday on a UFC 202 conference call.
"I'm not one of those guys who sat around here f*cking taking contracts. I've been bitching about my contract for the last six years. I've been going through hell, so I knew I was going to get mine. When it was time to get mine, I was going to get what I was going to get regardless, and I had a plan to do it. It's not thanks to Conor that I got all of this, but I'm going to say that was a shortcut."
For Diaz, the path to the reimbursement of 2016 has been a long one.
The 31-year-old veteran spent a majority of the past three years on the sidelines, quarreling with the UFC over a contract that paid Diaz paltry disclosed figures for a veteran of his stature. However things finally changed last December, when Diaz upset Michael Johnson at UFC on FOX 17 and promptly called out McGregor with a profane rant on live national television.
The callout paid off, as Diaz scored the golden ticket -- and a new contract -- to face McGregor at UFC 196 following the injury dropout of Rafael dos Anjos. Diaz went on to infamously defeat McGregor via second-round rear-naked choke, setting up the Aug. 20 rematch at UFC 202, which takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
While Diaz is expected to receive another huge payday for his rematch against McGregor, he sees dramatic turnaround to his career as a result that was inevitable, one way or another.
"If I was stupid, I wouldn't have got to where I'm at," Diaz said. "I did what I had to do. I got that fight with Johnson, I plotted him out and I got sh*t done. And then I plotted back and got this on a 10-day notice and it worked out still, regardless. I asked for the fight, I said I wanted the fight, I got the fight, so I'm going to take the fight.
"So it's like, I feel I'm in the position I'm in because I put myself in this position, and it's not great, it's not horrible, it's f*cking what it is. So that's been my take on the whole situation. I wasn't following the leader on making some money here. I was going to get my money regardless, and I was going to get where I'm at regardless. But I will say that he was a shortcut."
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