Nate Diaz and Eddie Alvarez could have fought in 2015. The two got into a backstage altercation at UFC 188 in Mexico City and there was plenty of interest at that time about a matchup between the two hard-nosed lightweights.
It didn’t happen, though. Diaz told Ariel Helwani on a special edition of The MMA Hour last week that Alvarez turned the bout down at that point because he was waiting for a title shot. When the UFC offered him Alvarez back in January of this year, Diaz was no longer interested.
“They texted me about the Eddie Alvarez fight,” Diaz said. “And I’m just like pshht. Eddie Alvarez had his chance. Remember when I seen him in Mexico and I called him out? I was like I want to fight him the next day.”
Things have changed significantly for Diaz since the confrontation with Alvarez. He beat Michael Johnson in December 2015, then stepped in on short notice to face Conor McGregor at UFC 196 in March 2016, shocking the world by submitting McGregor in the second round. Diaz and McGregor fought a rematch at UFC 202 last August and McGregor pulled out a tight majority decision.
After the Diaz fights, McGregor challenged Alvarez, by then the UFC lightweight champion, at UFC 205 last November and knocked Alvarez out in the second round.
When the UFC came calling about an Alvarez bout, Diaz said he didn’t even say no.
“I just laughed,” Diaz said. “‘Do you want the Eddie Alvarez fight?’ How dare you. He just got melted by the guy I just beat up. He just got plumbed by Conor and I just beat Conor’s ass. I just laughed at them, like ‘Get the f*ck out of here, call me with some real sh*t.’”
Diaz believes he knows why the UFC offered him that fight. He said a few days after he laughed it off, he got an e-mail saying his contract had been extended six months. UFC fighters have provisions in their contracts allowing the UFC to lengthen contracts if they don’t accept fights by a certain time.
“You guys just offered me that fight that you knew I wasn’t gonna take so you can extend my contract, because it was almost over,” Diaz said. “My time was almost up on my contract. You get your loophole. Don’t be trying to play me.”
Diaz has since been offered a fight against Tony Ferguson, which he also turned down, so it’s likely his contract will be extended another six months. Diaz said he’s not looking to be a free agent necessarily. He just wants one of two things from the UFC in a prospective fight: more money or an opponent he’s motivated to be locked inside a cage with.
Ferguson didn’t fit that bill for Diaz. Neither did Alvarez.
“You had your chance,” Diaz said of the former UFC 155-pound champion. “That’s not a fighter. You’re not a fighter. … You didn’t want the fight. You had your chance.”