All Nate Diaz wants is for people to keep it real.
Diaz wants to have honest interactions with people, fight other big-name fighters, compete and do badass stuff. Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it?
For Diaz, it has been anything but. And while that used to discourage him, Anthony Pettis has created the perfect moment for his return at UFC 241.
“It’s just time to fight,” Diaz said. “This is the fight that made sense. He’s a guy [Anthony Pettis] that has been around a long time, got some good wins, just had a good win and is an entertaining fighter, so I’m here to showcase my skills with another good fighter.”
And just to clarify, when Diaz is stating that someone is a “good fighter,” he is referring to athletes that are always out to finish the fight. He’s not looking to face point fighters or take on fighters who don’t take risks. He wants to take on who he considers to be real fighters.
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“I came to a point where like I’m the A-side of all these fights making a name for all these B-side fighters,” Diaz said. “So if I’m going to fight anybody, then I want to fight a real fighter and I’m going to make an entertaining fight out of it and have an A-category fight, and not downgrade myself to this weak ass UFC point holding system that everybody else is with.”
Diaz’s quest for quality opponents and quality fights makes sense. And that’s why his UFC 241 battle with Pettis has fans so excited.
Diaz and Pettis both have a history of showcasing world-class mixed martial arts, bringing plenty of personality to fight week and letting their unique styles flow in the Octagon. A fight like this could help Diaz get his point across: Real fighters are few and far between.
“It’s turning the sport into a mess,” Diaz said about “point” fighters. “That’s why I’m back, to showcase real martial skills against real martial artists. To let all the fighters know who are holding on and scoring points and winning the rounds that’s cool, right on for getting your money, but that’s some wack-ass martial arts. That’s not even martial arts; that’s point fighting.”
Diaz hasn’t made the walk to the Octagon in nearly three years, and while we might see some new tricks from Stockton’s finest, not much has really changed.
“I train hard, always. I just want to go in there and get the job done,” Diaz said. “Keep my head on my shoulders, teeth in my mouth and go home with the dub [win]. And that’s what I came for.”
Standing across the Octagon from Diaz will be Pettis, who recently knocked out Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson in an incredible UFC welterweight debut. Diaz hopes that Pettis brings that type of intensity on Saturday and hopes he doesn’t participate in the type of point fighting style that Diaz disapproves of.
“He’s frontin’, man; he might try to hold on [to me], who knows,” Diaz said. “We’ll see what happens and this is a fighter who is a fighter and I think we might get something good out of this fight or we might not, but we’ll have to see what happens on Saturday.”
The highly anticipated fight between Diaz and Pettis will take place as the co-main event of UFC 241. To watch Diaz’s return, as well as five other great fights, purchase UFC 241 live on Pay-Per-View here.
The main card will begin at 10pm ET/7pm PT, with the prelims on ESPN starting at 8pm ET/5pm PT and the UFC Fight Pass early prelims getting things started at 6:30pm ET/3:30pm PT.
Gavin Porter is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com, follow him on Twitter at @PorterUFCNews