When the possibility of stepping in on short notice to face Conor McGregor in this Saturdayâs UFC 196 main event arrived on Nate Diazâ doorstep, he did what Nate Diaz does. He said âOKâ and went to work.
âThey called and I took off to the gym, trying to get my weight down,â he said. At the time, he assumed he would be fighting the current UFC featherweight champion at 155 pounds, the weight McGregor was going to meet lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos at before the Brazilian got injured. But once Diaz agreed to the fight, he left things in the hands of his team.
Thatâs their job. His job? Scrap.
Itâs why the announcement of hisÂ bout with McGregor sent shockwaves through the MMA world, and for a change, they were positive ones. Everyone wants to see the Stockton, Calif., bad boy in against Dublinâs McGregor, and neither backed down during an entertaining press conference last week, and they most certainly wonât shy away from battle on fight night this Saturday. But make no mistake about it, Diaz will not settle in and accept a role as the B-side in this bout.
âItâs the biggest fight,â Diaz said. âObviously everybody wants that fight (with McGregor). But Iâm a big fight, too. Itâs not one-sided. If youâre gonna fight anybody, itâs me. (The UFC) know it. I didnât call for this fight. The UFC kept calling. This fight was gonna happen eventually.â
Thumbnail photo viaÂ Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images