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Morning Report: Nate Diaz calls himself ‘king’ of lightweight division, not interested in trilogy with Conor McGregor

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Nate Diaz Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Last month it was announced that Nate Diaz would finally be returning to the Octagon, taking on Anthony Pettis. It was a big announcement, not just because Diaz has been sitting on the sidelines for over two years, but because the fight will take place at welterweight instead of lightweight.

Pettis recently made the move up to 170 pounds and scored a stunning KO victory over Stephen Thompson. Now Diaz, who has flirted with the welterweight division before, has decided he will be making the move permanently, telling Ariel Helwani yesterday that he is done with lightweight since he is already “the king” of that division.

“I’m just done with the 155 thing,” Diaz said. That’s in the past. I think it’s time to start fighting at a more comfortable weight class. There’s nothing for me there. I already did everything, beat everybody. I feel I’m the king of that division anyways. I mean, I am the king of that division. So I’m just going to leave it where it’s at. There was no love for it. . . There’s no opponents there. That sh*t’s weak.”

Diaz had a successful career as a UFC lightweight, going 11-5 in the weight class and challenging for the belt in 2012. Of course, the current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has done slightly better than that, going 11-0 in the UFC and 27-0 in his career. But Nate is also counting outside the cage interactions and in that, he says he established himself as the true champion.

“Khabib, I already slapped him in his face,” Diaz said. “I already told you guys that. And I beat Conor before him, quicker than him, easier than him. He’s just gonna ignore that, act like whatever. He’s just being a little big-headed right now. So I’m just like, whatever. I don’t need to fight him anyways, because I’ve already got a victory over him. He’s just gonna hide out and play champ and act like a good guy, f*cking Mr. f*cking Humble f*cking Khabib. I’m not buying that sh*t. I don’t need to sit around here and f*cking chase nobody. If anybody be doing the chasing, they got to come this way. So I’m gonna retire that division as champ. I slapped both Conor and Khabib, so how does that make anybody a winner?”

Diaz and Nurmagomedov have had beef dating back to 2015 when the two fighters were at a World Series of Fighting event in Las Vegas. The two fighters and their respective entourages got into a scuffle after Diaz and Nurmagomedov exchanged words. Who started it and who won remains a point of contention for both parties, and something Nate has recently referenced to goad the lightweight champion.

But while Nate’s brawl with Khabib remains a point of contention, there is only one real beef for Diaz that the fans care about, his ongoing rivalry with Conor McGregor. In 2016, Diaz became a household name by submitting Conor McGregor on short notice at UFC 196. Their rematch at UFC 202 was the highest selling UFC PPV of all time (since surpassed by UFC 229). With most of the other top names at lightweight currently booked, many fans assumed McGregor would finally have the trilogy fight with Diaz, but then Diaz got booked against Pettis. The reason for that, according to Diaz, is that he isn’t interested in a third fight with McGregor since he already won the first two.

“I’m not interested in it at all,” Diaz said. “I’m interested in winners. He lost his last fight, and I won my last fight. You think I’m trying to fight someone who just got his ass beat all over the place? I’m a black belt in jiu-jitsu. That sh*t wouldn’t happen to me.”

“[The UFC] were dissing me, saying I f---ing turned down fights. I was like, ‘Dude, what are you talking about?’ You’re giving this guy the world, and you’re putting this guy down. That’s why I haven’t been fighting. Why would I work for you while you’re over here playing me?

”Three years went by and then they start expecting me to start screaming for f*cking Conor as soon as he loses? Nah, dude, I won that last fight. I’ll fight Khabib. Then Khabib is playing like I have to win something to get to him. I’m like, ‘What are you talking about, dude? You have to win to get to me. I slapped you.’”

Diaz is actually also coming off a loss, coming up short in his rematch with McGregor at UFC 202. He does get the chance to rebound against Pettis though when he takes on the former UFC lightweight champion at UFC 241 on Aug. 17 in Anaheim, Calif.


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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Farewell.

Congrats.

Ouch.

I hadn’t heard.

Pretty soon Ali gonna be managing everyone.

ATT is also taking over.

Askren backing his Olympic compatriot.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

James Vick (13-3) vs. Dan Hooker (17-4); UFC San Antonio, July 20.

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TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

2005: Rich Franklin became the UFC middleweight champion, stopping Evan Tanner with strikes at UFC 53.

2011: Tony Ferguson won the TUF 13 welterweight tournament, knocking out Ramsey Nijem at The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale. Also at this event, Anthony Pettis made his UFC debut, losing a contentious split decision to Clay Guida.

2016: Michael Bisping became the UFC middleweight champion, knocking out Luke Rockhold at UFC 199. In the co-main event, Dominick Cruz settled his grudge with Urijah Faber, winning their trilogy fight by unanimous decision to retain his bantamweight title.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Eid Mubarak to all our Muslim readers.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL

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