Nate Diaz has given us his thoughts on the push his great rival Conor McGregor received as he was making his rise through the ranks of the featherweight division.
It has been almost a year-and-a-half since we’ve had the pleasure of seeing Nathan Diaz fight inside a UFC octagon but given the dramatically larger level of exposure he has gained in recent times, he has managed to keep himself firmly in the minds of the MMA public due to his ongoing rivalry with the sport’s biggest star, Conor McGregor.
In recent history, Cormier and Jones aside, it’s hard to remember a clash of two stars as unpredictable, volatile and entertaining as the one found between McGregor and Diaz and after each man managed to defeat the other on one occasion, the stage is set for a rubber match that could well be the biggest in UFC history.
The fans have been waiting patiently for the UFC’s 155lb champion to make his next move but with such massive leverage now in his favour, the ‘Notorious’ one well and truly has all of the cards in his hand, especially when you factor in how much money he has been able to bring in over the course of the last few years.
Diaz, on the other hand, is perhaps even more unpredictable than his Irish foe and with him seemingly content to sit back and wait for the inevitable trilogy fight to come around, he spoke to the Outside The Box podcast about his views on the UFC right now and how he believes they had an ulterior motive in giving McGregor the push he received during his rise.
“Conor [McGregor]’s their guy. They just give him what they want to do with him and they build who they want to build and I’m not one of them, but it’s all good now, I’ll build myself. They promote him as the money guy and he became bigger than everybody because that’s what they promoted him as. I was the guy bringing all the views and all the numbers.
“They didn’t announce it as that, so that’s why when they were going to buy out my contract [the UFC] were like, ‘Are you kidding? This is our guy. We just don’t want to tell anybody this is our guy or why because then his value goes up and he gets what he wants and we don’t want to give him what he wants, we want to give little Irish dude what he wants.
“The way it is that people don’t understand is, they don’t use [Nick and me] to promote. We’re the best fighters in the game. They don’t want to promote us because they already had Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Dan Henderson and Tito Ortiz. They already have America. You know what I’m saying? They don’t need to promote Americans, they already have America. They already got Canada with Georges St-Pierre. They already got South America with Anderson Silva. So, they got this all on lock.
“They needed Europe, and then they got a little loud-mouthed Conor McGregor. So, we’ll use him. So all this, it’s propaganda. It’s blown all out of proportion and it’s fine though. It’s cool he’s getting all blown out of proportion but where’s ours? Oh, they already used it all. They already got America so they don’t need us. So it’s like, if you don’t need us. Then let me be on our way. but they won’t let me be on our way so we’re living in prison.”
Of course, the UFC cannot be blamed for jumping to the side of someone who clearly has star potential and future value to the organisation but to say that McGregor’s rise wasn’t also in part a consequence of his achievements inside the octagon and personality outside of it does leave Diaz’s argument falling a little flat.
Still though, with both men happy to continue poking at each other in the media, maybe this is all we’ll get for the foreseeable future from this pairing and though it isn’t likely that Nate will accept a fight with anyone else right now, we can at least look forward to the possible return of McGregor as we move into 2018.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena