As Nate Diaz’s  long awaited return to the cage gets closer and closer, the Stockton star’s lit up the UFC a little bit in a recent interview. Surprised? If you know anything about the outspoken fighter, you shouldn’t be.
Diaz’s highly anticipated return
When Diaz steps into the Octagon this Saturday to battle Anthony Pettis  at UFC 241, it will mark the first time in nearly three years that he’s competed. The last time Diaz fought was on August 20th, 2016, when he lost his rematch to Conor McGregor via majority decision.
Since then, Dana White has repeatedly said that the promotion’s offered Diaz bouts, but he’s claimed the star wasn’t interested. Diaz was expected to return to the UFC last November to fight Dustin Poirier, but the now interim lighweight champ had to drop out due to injury.
The Stockton star claims the UFC wanted him to “vanish”
Well, in advance of Diaz’s return, the 34-year-old spoke did a lengthy interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. While talking about his rematch with McGregor (Diaz submitted the Irish star in their first bout in March, 2016), and his break from fighting, here’s some of what he had to say (quotes via MMA Junkie ):
“I for sure didn’t lose that fight, but they treated it like, ‘You lost, go down the list, get out of here,’ type of thing,” Diaz said. “When he lost the first time to me, it was the biggest thing, and he needed his rematch and he’s obsessed with Nate and all this marketing on how much he needed to get this back and how great he is for actually jumping in there and doing it. I’m like, ‘Hold up, how about all the rematches I’ve ever wanted?’
“…I’m like, ‘You guys pay me way too much to be sitting here, playing a stupid (expletive) game doing what you guys want me to do, so I’m going to step it out,’” Diaz said. “Then two years flew by, and the whole time I’m sitting there like, ‘When is somebody going to step their stupid (expletive) up and start calling for a fight,’ because that’s what I did. I’m like, ‘You’re the guy getting all the love and all the (expletive) that I worked hard for, and they’re just handing it over and promoting it, and I put work in, and if you’re not sitting there thinking this guy is getting what you worked for, you’re not working hard enough.’”
“I saw what was happening, and I went out there and took it,” Diaz added. “OK, this is what I’m about to do, and two years flew by, and I’m like, ‘I don’t need to be begging anyone to fight.’ I don’t need to fight. I beat the best guy at the moment. I beat the best guy, and you’re treating me like, ‘Vanish.’ Then I’m like, ‘(Expletive) me? Well then (expletive) you.’ Then after a certain while, I’m like, ‘What’s wrong with these fighters?’ I’m a bigger draw, a bigger fight than anybody in the game, and you guys are just going to sit back and not participate. Put me in the outskirts: He dropped from the rankings, he’s turning down fights.”
It’s an interesting take on the situation. Did the UFC really want one of its biggest names on the sidelines? Or, was the UFC playing hardball in an effort to control the narrative? In terms of what fights Diaz wanted and what he was relaying publicly? There’s no question that, as we see above, when Diaz is in the picture he’s not afraid to rock the boat, to put it mildly. As far as McGregor, Diaz isn’t the only person to argue the UFC goes out of its way to make the massive star happy.
UFC 241 will take place at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.