It didn’t take long for fighters to start calling out Nate Diaz after the enigmatic star hinted at a return to the Octagon in May or June.
One of those fighters was former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, and the 34-year-old MMA veteran believes a fight with Diaz would generate millions of dollars.
Kevin Lee, on the other hand, thinks Alvarez has ‘got it all wrong’ and believes fans would rather see a lightweight showdown between himself and Diaz.
“I see what Eddie’s trying to do, but I think the man’s just got it all wrong,” Lee told Ariel Helwani on a recent edition of The MMA Hour (h/t Shaun Al-Shatti of MMA Fighting). “I think the fans, they don’t want to see who’s the biggest name against the biggest name. It’s who’s the best. So, if we’re going from a sporting perspective, I gotta throw my hat in the ring versus Diaz. I think that’s the fight to make. That’s a fight that I’ve been pushing for. That’s a fight that I’m going to talk my talk and I’m going to keep going. But from every other perspective other than a fun fight, that’s the fight to make.”
Lee, 25, lost in an interim title fight against Tony Ferguson last year but is still considered one of the hottest prospects in the lightweight division and is currently ranked in the top ten.
‘The Motown Phenom’ called Alvarez, a multi-promotion champ, ‘washed up’ and said Diaz will look to take the easier fight.
“If you’ve got Alvarez in there — the man’s washed up. We all know that,” Lee said. “The UFC brass, they know it. Alvarez is never going to be the champion again. He’s never even going to sniff that title again. If they want to make me and Alvarez happen, I’m cool with that too, but I’m just looking at it from a fan perspective and seeing what I would want to see. I want to see the two guys who just challenged for the title, because I’m going to be back in a title shot within the next year. And I think the UFC knows that, I think the fans know that, and I think that’s what makes the most sense.”
“(But) he won’t. He won’t, because Diaz knows. He knows I’d whip that ass. He sees me around Vegas all of the time. I’ve seen him in and out of some of the stores around here. He knows. He knows the deal. I don’t think he would take it. If he was a better man, he probably would, but probably not.”
Although Lee believes he is the number one candidate for a top contender’s bout with Diaz, it’s more likely that the UFC will look to book a trilogy fight between Diaz and McGregor. Diaz, 32, submitted McGregor in 2016 but lost via majority decision in the welterweight rematch at UFC 202. UFC president Dana White said he could book McGregor vs. Diaz III ‘any time’.