Michael Bisping believes ring rust will come into play when Nate Diaz faces Anthony Pettis at UFC 241.
Diaz will make his return to the Octagon against Pettis in a welterweight contest on August 17 in Anaheim, California. It will be nearly three years to the day since his last fight against Conor McGregor back in 2016.
While ring rust doesn’t exist for some like Dominick Cruz, Bisping believes Diaz’s lack of fight time makes this a dangerous fight for him.
“I think this is a dangerous fight for Nate Diaz, especially coming back,” Bisping said on his podcast (via MMA News). “He hasn’t fought since Conor McGregor, right? 2016, that’s three years ago. That’s a long time.”
“Now, he’s a pentathlete or whatever he is. Triathlons and all that type of stuff. That’s all well and good, but that doesn’t mean just cause someone runs around a f*cking track and swims a bunch they can go in there and fight. Now of course, he has the mentality but still, and I say this with respect [be]cause I respect both Diaz brothers and what they’ve accomplished in this sport — time away from the sport can change things. And three years is a lot of f*cking time and Pettis has still been in there the whole time.”
Will Ring Rust Be A Factor For Diaz?
Bisping certainly has a point.
While Diaz is undoubtedly one of the fitter athletes in the UFC, this is the longest he has not fought in his professional career, let alone in the promotion.
Pettis, meanwhile, has fought seven times since the Stockton native last competed and is coming off an emphatic knockout win over Stephen Thompson.
It should then come as no surprise that “Showtime” recently opened as the early -150 favorite. Diaz, on the other hand, is a +130 underdog.
UFC 241 will be headlined by a heavyweight title fight between Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic. Diaz and Pettis will serve as the co-main event.