Three years ago, Nate Diaz told the world that Conor McGregor was an overrated champion being propped up and protected by the UFC while he fought bloody (and entertaining) battles but never got the credit he deserved.
Turns out, he was right, not only about himself, but also about McGreggor.
Diaz made his return to the octagon on Saturday night, winning a unanimous decision over Anthony Pettis that, like most of his fights, involved several stand-and-swing moments where both men molly whopped the other until they finally put up their defenses. In the end, that played to Diaz’s strengths and he won.
Meanwhile, what is Conor McGregor doing with his time these days? Oh, just cheap-shot punching an older man in the face at a random bar recently. Good to see him staying in fighting shape.
The last time we saw McGregor fight in the UFC was a year ago when Khabib Nurmagomedov beat him by submission in a one-sided rumble that seemed over in the first minute, though it did go four rounds. Regardless, that moment (and the melee aftermath) did expose McGregor for who he is: a great public relations fighter who ultimately got beat down by the tougher guys in the industry (Diaz in their first fight and Nurmagomedov) after a long run of weaker opponents who he knocked out. And it was Diaz who reminded us about that ahead of their second fight, which McGregor won, though it was by majority decision.
Diaz was asked about fighting McGregor again after his latest win, and said he’d be open to it, “if that’s something that works into the schedule.”
“I’m gonna fight the baddest dudes at the biggest shows, that’s what I want to do,” he continued. “If it’s up to everyone who is involved, if they want it, they’re going to call me.”
So there you have it. We might see Diaz vs McGregor III or perhaps Diaz will fight welterweight Jorge Masvidal, who he called out after the Pettis fight. But regardless, Diaz’s return to the ring reminded us of two things.
1. He’s the most entertaining fighter the UFC has to offer right now.
2. McGregor’s greatest strength is in the PR field.