Saturday 25 January 2020

Nate Diaz puts Conor McGregor on notice: Rest up, I'm coming for you

The pair embrace after the fight. Photo: AP Photo/Isaac Brekken
The pair embrace after the fight. Photo: AP Photo/Isaac Brekken

Tom Rooney

Nate Diaz has made it abundantly clear that he has no intention of fighting anyone but Conor McGregor for the foreseeable future, which is likely why the Californian is already employing social media to agitate for their trilogy fight.

Such was the compelling, bloody fare that was their five round welterweight war at UFC 202 on Saturday night in Las Vegas, it is difficult to imagine that any right-minded fight fan would be displeased if the promotion immediately scheduled a third contest between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz.

After McGregor won a thoroughly deserved majority decision last weekend, this unexpected rivalry now stands at 1-1.

The Dubliner gained his vengeance following Diaz’s sensational second round submission win at UFC 196 last March.

At Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, the pair parted with every ounce of their person in pursuit of glory but McGregor, who demonstrated a vastly diversified striking arsenal, as well as a more refined tactical appreciation, conjured a career-best performance to reclaim his place as the world’s most engaging fighter.

While so much of the post fight discourse has centred on what the Crumlin man will do next, Diaz, in his own inimitable style, has left zero ambiguity on what his intentions are – it’s McGregor or bust.

And who could blame him? Diaz secured a $2m purse for his night’s work, which was supplemented by a $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus. He’s likely to receive additional undisclosed payments, too.

Throw in the $500k basic package he took from their bout in March, and it’s all too easy to see why the 31-year-old has no interest in facing anybody but MMA’s bone fide golden goose.

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Diaz entered the octagon for the 23rd time on Saturday and, despite winning a plethora of post fight bonuses over a near decade with the world’s foremost promotion, has hitherto never found himself among the sport’s big earners.

He has lambasted his employers many times for this in the past and even engaged in long, self-imposed hiatuses in response.

In fact, in his last contest before first facing McGregor, in which he took a very impressive unanimous decision against the highly-raked Michael Johnson, he was paid $20,000 show money and the same again as a win bonus.

 $40,000 to $2m is quite the leap, and he is acutely aware that McGregor is the only man on the UFC roster who can guarantee him similar windfalls going forward.

However, the Notorious has been told by Dana White that he must next defend his featherweight crown in another rematch with interim champion Jose Aldo or relinquish the title.

While his coach, John Kavanagh, believes he should challenge Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight strap and make that division his long-term home.

Yet, McGregor is facing a six month layoff after injuring his left foot and ankle against Diaz, and must be cleared by an orthopedic surgeon if wants to fight again in 2016.

For his part, Diaz took to Instagram to put McGregor on notice and get that hype train rolling once again.

By this time last fight I had already excepted rematch.. Rest up. I'm coming for you.....

A photo posted by natediaz209 (@natediaz209) on

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