Nate Diaz is not interested in a title shot.
Should Diaz beat Conor McGregor in the main event of UFC 202 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas Saturday night, he is not worried about fighting for a belt. Rather than competing for the lightweight or welterweight crowns, Diaz wants to fight against top-flight talent.
“I think those guys in there need to get to work and do a little something for themselves because no one knows their names,” Diaz said of champions Eddie Alvarez and Tyron Woodley. “I’m not interested in those fights. I’m interested in big fights, and maybe those guys can fight each other.
“Do something with yourselves first, make some noise and create something. Otherwise, I’m just fighting another guy because he’s got a belt, I don’t think that’s a very big deal.”
Put into the first McGregor fight as an injury replacement for Rafael dos Anjos, Diaz had 11 days’ notice to prepare for the bout. However, Diaz won the bout at 170 pounds with a rear-naked choke late in the second round.
Following the fight, Diaz did several personal appearances to discuss the win over McGregor, who has not stopped talking about a rematch since suffering his first loss in nearly six years. Prior to the Diaz bout, McGregor won 15 straight fights, including a UFC Featherweight Championship contest, and had five straight Performance of the Night bonuses.
“It was cool doing all that stuff,” Diaz said. “It’s more fun to do stuff like that after the fights than before the fights, for sure. It’s kind of hard to get on a stage and joke around with Conan O’Brien or Jimmy Kimmel if you’re really looking to fight someone in the future.
“It’s not really a funny situation for me. After the fight, after the matter and everything comes out good, it’s usually probably going to be a better time, but I think it’s a good thing for the fighters and the sport.”
And that is why Diaz only wants top-tier bouts, because he feels that is the way to continue growing the sport of mixed martial arts.
“This sport’s growing every year, and I think there should be a lot more fighters up there doing their thing because we’re the top entertainers in the world,” Diaz said. “We’ve got NBA stars and football stars and actors that we grew up on and rappers and stuff, boxers, all the baddest entertainers in the world and they’re sitting there watching and talking about us at these fight shows.
“There’s no doubt that we’re the top entertainment in the world. I think it’s good, and I think it’s going to keep going up from here.”