UFC 241: Nate Diaz on Why he Decided Anthony Pettis is an “Eligible Opponent”

Over the last couple of years, there’s been no shortage of talk and speculation about when and who Nate Diaz would fight next. Now, finally, after a near three year long break from competing, Diaz is going to fight Anthony Pettis at UFC 241. So why did the Stockton star decide a bout with “Showtime” would secure his long awaited return?

Speculation about Diaz’s next bout

After Diaz dropped his rematch to Conor McGregor in 2016, via majority decision, there was extensive talk about a rubber match materializing. McGregor said he wanted that fight to happen, but, just not next. While McGregor went on to win the lightweight title that same year, Diaz remained on the sidelines.

Well, in more recent history, there was buzz about Diaz fighting Tyron Woodley, Diaz fighting Georges St-Pierre, but those bouts never materialized. Diaz was expected to fight Dustin Poirier last November, but that fight didn’t happen either.

Diaz’s decision to fight Pettis

Fast forward to now, and Diaz is set to throw hands with Pettis this Saturday. The two have traded verbal shots in the past, sure, but while talking to ESPN recently, Diaz had this to say about his decision to fight “Showtime” (quotes via MMA Junkie):

“I was like, ‘All right, you know what, Pettis is knocking out Thompson and doing all this cool (expletive) when he fights,’ and I’m like, ‘Man, that’s an eligible opponent, and I dig that,’” Diaz said. “I don’t need to be signing up for fights just because I want to punch someone in the face. That’s not cool. I want a fight that’s going to motivate me to fight.”

“Good fighters and good fights.”

“The fighters are boring, that’s what I’m saying,” Diaz said. “Where are the people at? Where’s Jake Ellenberger? You know how many people I’ve seen come into the game way after me, be this new hot (expletive), be a champion? You’re the guy, then you’re on a downhill and you have one more win, then you’re gone. So many of those have came and gone, and I was here, and I’m still here.”

Yup. There’s no denying that Pettis is a ridiculously, entertaining fighter. As is Diaz, so that’s why this Saturday’s bout between the two has so much buzz. Diaz detractors might argue he wanted to avoid match-ups with top-tier wrestlers, and that in Pettis, he’s going to face someone who will likely trade with him. That very well may be true, but, when you have the level of fame that Diaz has, he doesn’t need to accept any fight that’s tabled.