Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor have traded vicious punches and verbal jabs in the past, but recently the latter heaped praise on his former rival.
The epic Diaz – McGregor battles
Even if you’re new to the MMA world, chances are you’re well aware of the massive bouts Diaz and McGregor competed in back in 2016. The two battled for the first time in March of that year, and Diaz submitted McGregor in round two. McGregor pushed for a rematch and the massive star was granted one in August, 2016. This time around, McGregor won the fight via majority decision.
The lead-ups to both fights were extremely intense, as was the action in the Octagon. Their first bout is believed to have set a new record for pay-per-views at the time of around 1.3 million buys. The second fight is believed to have sold around 1.6 million PPVs.
McGregor’s recent comments about Diaz
Fast forward to today, and Diaz is coming off a decision win over Anthony Pettis at UFC 241. That bout marked the first time Diaz had competed since he rematched McGregor in 2016. The latter recently spoke with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani. While at first, they discussed McGregor’s highly publicized incident in a Dublin pub, and whether McGregor has anger issues, they also talked about various MMA related issues. While talking about Diaz and his recent win, McGregor said this (quotes via MMA Junkie):
“I took great motivation from watching Nate go out there and do his thing,” McGregor said. “Even looking at Nate, there is many things that were amazing about that whole performance (to) me from Nate.
“One of the one’s that most stood out to me was what he said post-fight: ‘The Nick Diaz army.’ He gave a shoutout to his brother. I hope his brother is doing well. I hope Nick is doing well. A solider of the real fight game. He gave him respect right off the bat. That’s why the fans love Nate. That’s why I love and respect Nate.”
“…Even now with the cannabis strain he’s coming out with. I hope he’s got his business mind screwed on because he’s in a position now where he could also make a generational like I have. I hope to see that. These are the things I’m just looking at and taking motivation from to use in my game and push me forward.”
Even if you’re not a Diaz fan, you can’t deny that he’s become one of the biggest names in MMA, and he’s largely done so, on his own terms. Will he and McGregor throw down in a rubber match at some point? You would think the answer is probably yes? But you just never know in a sport like MMA.
Following UFC 241, Diaz called for a bout with Jorge Masvidal, and “Gamebred’s” extremely interested in making the fight happen.