Saturday 24 March 2018

‘I don’t want to hear any excuses’- Nate Diaz prepared to make huge sacrifice for Conor McGregor rematch

Nate Diaz applies the winning choke hold to Conor McGregor during their fight at UFC 196 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Photo: Rey Del Rio/Getty Images
Nate Diaz applies the winning choke hold to Conor McGregor during their fight at UFC 196 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Photo: Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Tom Rooney

Nate Diaz is all too happy to reap the financial rewards of giving Conor McGregor a rematch at UFC 200 but for the sake of finality, he has one condition.

After nearly a decade with the UFC, Diaz has never been more in demand. Since his second round submission of Conor McGregor at UFC 196, the volatile California has quickly gone from cult hero to the darling of the MMA chat show circuit.

Even more so since Ariel Helwani of revealed last week that the UFC are close to booking a sequel to the contest that is said to have drawn 1.5 million pay-per-view buys.

Helwani also made it clear that the five round main event bout on July 9 in the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas would be contested at welterweight (170lbs.), as was the case for the initial showdown.

Why? Because the Dubliner wants to prove, in the exact same conditions, that Diaz’s victory was nothing more than an anomaly.

While much was made of McGregor fighting at a full two weight classes up from the featherweight (145lbs.) division he is currently the champion of, in reality it was a scenario borne of necessity.

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Diaz, who has fought at lightweight (155 lbs.) for 18 of his 22 UFC bouts, was drafted in on 11 days’ notice for the injured lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos. In order to expedite his participation in the makeshift match up, McGregor said he was happy to fight at 170 lbs.

If Diaz even had a week more time - though he claimed to be able to all along - the fight would certainly have been contested at 155 lbs. Diaz believes McGregor has used the issue of weight as a mitigation for his first loss in close to six years, and is eager to deprive him of that particular safety net.

"If there's a second fight, whatever. I'll fight at (lightweight)," Diaz told UFC tonight. "I'd like to be in shape and be cut up and not have to hear it out of the fans and the people. Not even the fans but the guy (McGregor), I don't want to hear no excuses.

"I'll make (155). I planned on making it the last time. We're going to have to see if they want to run it back and then we'll see."

Like McGregor, Diaz has never been one to acknowledge his foe’s better attributes, but he appreciates the Crumlin native’s ability to draw the spotlight and, indeed, zero-laden cheques. If agreeable terms can be met, the submission specialist will gladly take on McGregor for the second time in four months.

"He's (McGregor) a fighter, he's doing his thing. He's making more of a scene than everybody else. If everybody else would speak up, everybody would be in these positions but nobody wants to say nothing.

"I've been speaking for years, they tried to quiet me down, but now I beat their guy so you're going to have to hear it now. But if everybody started speaking up, stepping up, we'd get bigger fights, we'd see a lot more people getting a lot more stuff done and it would be a lot more entertaining of a sport."

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