Nate Diaz’s fights with Conor McGregor were blockbusters for the UFC and both fighters’ careers. But the trilogy the promotion has held in its back pocket for years, waiting for the right moment, is no longer something Diaz is going to wait for.
As Diaz repeatedly said Tuesday during a special edition of The MMA Hour, he is ready to leave the UFC and accomplish other missions. The way he sees it, McGregor has missed his chance to make the massive fight – and he’s already suffered the consequences.
“McGregor was too amateur to be fighting Floyd Mayweather, and Floyd Mayweather was like, ‘Oh, I know how to fight him, look what Nate did – that’s how you fight him,’” Diaz said. “Blueprint, beat his ass hella easy, made him punch himself out, 10th round, beat his ass. Didn’t I do that right before him? That’s exactly what I did.
“And then [Conor] went and got choked by Khabib. He didn’t learn how to not get choked. If he would have finished the trilogy with me, he would have learned how to not get choked. If he would have finished the trilogy with me, he would have learned how to not punch himself out and make it through the rounds with Mayweather.
“He could have got better, but he jumped the line. He skipped through, and they helped him. No one has helped me the whole time. I’ve been relevant in this sport and I’m the most relevant, still, without even trying. Fight once a year, and I took three years off, and I still have records. I’m still, like, ‘Fight of the Night’ or top-two or some s*** like that, and I haven’t done s*** in five years. I used to fight every three to five times a year, but the UFC’s holding me back.”
Diaz has one fight remaining on his current UFC contract and said he’s offered to fight just about anyone the promotion puts in front of him – with a few notable exceptions. UFC President Dana White has pointed to Diaz’s record and tenure as a hurdle to agreeing on an opponent.
Diaz is 1-2 since the McGregor fights and 4-5 since a failed bid for the lightweight title that Diaz said marked a negative turning point in his time with the promotion. He’s fallen short in several high-profile fights and seen opponents move on to title shots. But in his mind, he’s held on longer and never been truly knocked out in competition.
“As far as I’m concerned, I’m the best fighter to ever step into the UFC,” Diaz said. “No one else can hang. This is a war that I’m not quitting and everyone else is, and can’t hang in the whole s***.”
Diaz said the only fight he’s been offered during his standoff with the promotion has been a bout with welterweight star Khamzat Chimaev, whom he said turned down the fight (Chimaev, meanwhile, accused him of the same). But he believes the trilogy with McGregor is being held over his head, as well.
The fight could happen somewhere down the line, when Diaz is finished exploring other avenues like boxing (for a bout with Jake Paul), jiu-jitsu (to take on grappling ace Gordon Ryan), or simply to try his own hand at fight promotion.
Right now, Diaz said the UFC and McGregor missed the window.
“You bring yourself back to life and I’ll be back later, because I’ve got s*** to do,” he said of the former two-division champ. “What’s he going to do? Fight some people who got knocked on their ass against a guy who just got his leg ass-broken all over the place, and got knocked out the fight before.
“I never got knocked out. I’m still in the running. Everybody else is in last place. And then anybody who’s a champion with their ego trying to be like, ‘I’m not calling him out. I’m the champion.’ You ain’t s***. You ain’t even been here until five minutes ago.”