Last Saturday, news broke that former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis would face Nate Diaz in the polarizing fan favorite’s awaited MMA return at UFC 241 this August.
The fight is a huge match-up that fans are approaching with a sort of tentative anticipation. After all, Diaz hasn’t fought since his rematch with Conor McGregor at August 2016’s UFC 202. He was set to return against Dustin Poirier at last November’s UFC 230. While the bout fell apart due to a hip injury for ‘The Diamond,’ Diaz didn’t seem all too worried he couldn’t finally fight.
Most expected he was waiting around for his long-rumored trilogy with McGregor. Defeating Pettis in impressive fashion could certainly get him there. But ‘Showtime’ isn’t planning on letting that happen. Speaking on today’s episode of “Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show,” Pettis opened up about the match-up:
“Oh man. Perfect fight for me. You know me and Nate, we had beef and drama for a long time. Just something that was supposed to happen a long time ago and it’s finally happening. And at comfortable weight class for both of us, so it’s going to be a scrap.”
Pettis’ Past Beef
‘Showtime’ also said Diaz frequently talked smack for the cameras but remained quiet when they were not around:
“Yeah, I feel like Nate always did that. Cameras would show up and he’d yap at the mouth. I coached against Gilbert Melendez the whole Ultimate Fighter season, not one word. Didn’t say anything. Then the cameras are around and he has something to say.
“It’s time to back it up, everything he’s been saying and all the drama he’s been trying to cause with the UFC vets. Alright, let’s settle it now, in the Octagon, exactly how I want it. And man, I’m excited for this fight. One hundred percent motivated. I wanna knock this guy out.”
Pettis was apparently offered another huge name in McGregor for later in the summer, but the bout never materialized:
“Honestly, there were some big names thrown my way. Conor McGregor was thrown my way from Dana. I thought that was going to happen in New York like in August. That didn’t happen, so I pulled back. And then Diaz pops up, so it’s just perfect.”
Pettis offered a somewhat surprising take on the situation. He didn’t know why the fight fell through, only that it had.
“No idea. Um, he just said, ‘Just stay ready,’ that’s all Dana said. I was going to stay busy regardless, July or August was the latest I wanted to fight so for me, it was just waiting for an opponent. But when you get names like that, it’s exciting.”
Finally, asked by Helwani, Pettis claimed he’d rather be fighting Diaz than McGregor because he just doesn’t like the Stockton fan favorite:
“Diaz. Diaz, a hundred percent. I just don’t like the guy. And that’s how it is. This is just one guy I don’t like. I don’t do that, I don’t come out in public, I don’t need to talk trash, my fighting style speaks for itself. Me and Diaz, we got problems, and now we can solve ’em.”