After back-to-back fights with Conor McGregor in 2016, Nate Diaz remained in the sidelines. And according to him, it’s because the UFC pushed him towards that direction.
“It was just—I felt like I won my last fight,” Diaz told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto (transcript via MMA Fighting) “I’m not gonna cry over spilt milk, it’s just what it is, especially in this UFC game because I’ve lost a lot of fights that I didn’t lose and even if, let’s just say more so than I think like, I for sure didn’t lose that fight.
“They treated it like, ‘You lost, go down the list. Get outta here’ type of thing. When [McGregor] 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 towards how much he needs to get this back and how great he is for actually jumping in there and doing it.”
“Hold up. What about all the rematches I’ve always wanted?” he continued. “That’s the sh-t what I should have jumped in with my contract, like, ‘Hold up, if I’m gonna do this rematch, I want all my rematches that you guys never gave me.’
“I should have done that, but I’ve lost a lot of good months of my life just sitting there sweating fights I’ve lost I didn’t lose. And I’m like, you guys motherf*cking paid me way too much to be sitting here playing this stupid-ass game and doing what you guys want me to do, so I’m cool, I’m gonna step it out. Then two years flew by.”
Diaz was also disappointed at how many of his contemporaries chose not to call him out, especially with the massive rise in his stock since the two McGregor fights. The second one at UFC 202 even turned out to be the most bought UFC pay-per-view at the time with 1.65 million.
“The whole time I’m sitting there waiting, like, when is someone gonna step they stupid-ass up and start calling for a fight? Because that’s what I did,” he said. “You’re the guy getting all the love and all the sh-t that I’ve worked hard for and they’re just handing it over and promoting it and I put work in. And if you’re not thinking this guy’s getting what you worked for, you’re f—ng not working hard enough.
“That’s thought of over miles and rounds and over training f—ng thoughts. A lot of work was put into those thoughts. If you’re not spittin’ that and saying that sh-t, then you shouldn’t even be in that position. So I saw what was happening and I went out and took it. ‘Okay, this is what I’m about to do.’ Two years flew by, I’m like, I ain’t gotta be beggin’ nobody to f—ng fight. I don’t need to fight.”
Diaz was dropped from the rankings due to his inactivity, which he also had gripes with.
“I beat the best guy at the moment, I beat the best guy, and you guys are just treating me like, vanished, then I’m like, ‘Oh well f—k me, so f—k you,’” he said. “But then after a certain while I’m like, what’s wrong with all these fighters? I’m a bigger draw, a bigger fight than anybody in the game and you guys are going to just sit back and not participate and ‘black sheep’ me—not ‘black sheep,’ it’s like ‘ostracized,’ put me on the outskirts of the whole conversation. ‘He dropped from the rankings, he’s this, that, he’s turning down fights.’
“I’m like, dude, you’re going to start offering me prelim fighters and be like, ‘He turned this down.’ You guys were using that against me.”
The 34-year-old Stockton, California fighter will be making his Octagon return this weekend, when he co-headlines UFC 241 against former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. The event takes place on Saturday, August 17th at the Honda Center in Anaheim.