Nate Diaz is back, for now, taking on Anthony Pettis at UFC 241. Whether or not he’s sticking around remains to be seen.
Anaheim, CA — Three years ago, UFC lightweight Nate Diaz had his star turn, defeating Conor McGregor via submission at UFC 196, then going the distance with the Irish star in the rematch at UFC 201, a majority decision loss. Thanks to his position as McGregor’s nemesis, however, Diaz was primed to become a breakout star for the UFC.
Then… nothing. Fights were booked, and fell through. UFC President Dana White questioned whether either Diaz brother, Nate or his older brother Nick, would fight again. A bout against Dustin Poirier came close last year, but that was scuttled as well.
Finally, at UFC 241, Nate Diaz (19-11) makes his return, against Anthony Pettis. It will be his first since the McGregor rematch, and he’s fighting a former champ in Pettis, albeit one who has had some struggles of late. In true Diaz fashion, there’s been a bit of vitriol in the build-up, but Pettis is apparently willing to squash any beef.
Diaz, for his part, told reporters including Cageside Press at Wednesday’s UFC 241 open workouts that “There’s no beef at all anyway. I’m here as a business man, as a natural born killer, I’m here to get the job done, and he’s the guy to do it on. It’s no problem, it’s all good with me, I’m just here to f*cking kill him.”
Some of the back-and-forth between them seems to be Diaz’s comments about Pettis and his promotion from the UFC. It’s led Wisconsin’s Pettis to believe Diaz is jealous of him, something Diaz scoffed at Wednesday. “Why am I jealous of him?”
Well, for one, comments made when Diaz appeared on the Wheaties cereal box. “That was blown out of proportion a little bit,” Diaz countered. “At the time, I was not jealous of him, but I was mad – just like Conor, it’s like, you guys are just going to hand these guys [everything].”
“I did more work than all these guys, and then they’re pushing them as the guys,” Nate Diaz continued. It’s something that, from a fighter’s perspective, caused him to say “‘f*ck that, I’m the guy.’ That’s all that was.” And Pettis, said Diaz, “he should understand that, because that’s what everybody in this fight game should be doing, but ain’t no one’s doing it. They’re like ‘I want to fight, who’s next, I’m want to do whatever I’m told.'”
Diaz, truth be told, has never been one to do what he’s told, hence sitting out the past three years, in the prime of his career. “From day one, it’s going to stay the same too, until I’m 100 years old.”
“I’m the Don of all this sh*t,” he proclaimed, a term rival McGregor has used at times as well. “Anybody going to step into this room and say they’re the ass-whipper, I beg to differ.”
“That’s why I say ‘f*ck the Wheaties box, I’m going to fight him,’ because why the hell’s he on it? I’ve been here,” Diaz added, returning to the subject of Pettis, and the UFC’s promotion of him. “That was my only thing with him, it wasn’t personal.”
With Diaz back in the fold, at least for now, the big question will be whether he’s back for good. On that, Nate remained coy. “I can’t tell you. I’m going to fight this weekend. Time will tell on all this stuff.”
Watch the full UFC 241 open workout press scrum with Nate Diaz above!