Nate Diaz will step into the Octagon for the first time in three years this weekend at UFC 241 when he faces Anthony Pettis.
The reason why he's been out of the UFC for so long however, is because of the way he feels the promotion treated him following his rematch with Conor McGregor at UFC 202 in 2016.
Diaz won his initial fight against McGregor in March 2016 at UFC 196 via submission in the second round, but he lost the rematch five months later at UFC 202 via majority decision after five rounds.
During an interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, he said following the rematch, he felt 'ostracised' by UFC.
He said, via MMA Fighting: “It was just—I felt like I won my last fight. I’m not gonna cry over spilt milk, it’s just what it is, especially in this UFC game because I’ve lost a lot of fights that I didn’t lose and even if, let’s just say more so than I think like, I for sure didn’t lose that fight.
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“They treated it like, ‘You lost, go down the list. Get outta here’ type of thing. When [McGregor] lost the first time to me, it was the biggest thing, and he needed his rematch and he’s obsessed with Nate and all this marketing towards how much he needs to get this back and how great he is for actually jumping in there and doing it.”
“Hold up. What about all the rematches I’ve always wanted? That’s the s--t what I should have jumped in with my contract, like, ‘Hold up, if I’m gonna do this rematch, I want all my rematches that you guys never gave me.’
“I should have done that, but I’ve lost a lot of good months of my life just sitting there sweating fights I’ve lost I didn’t lose.
"And I’m like, you guys motherf--king paid me way too much to be sitting here playing this stupid-ass game and doing what you guys want me to do, so I’m cool, I’m gonna step it out. Then two years flew by.”
Diaz adds that the opponents UFC was offering him he felt weren't at his level, and those fighters he felt were at his level weren't willing to step up and fight.
“I beat the best guy at the moment, I beat the best guy, and you guys are just treating me like, vanished, then I’m like, ‘Oh well f--k me, so f--k you'.
"But then after a certain while I’m like, what’s wrong with all these fighters? I’m a bigger draw, a bigger fight than anybody in the game and you guys are going to just sit back and not participate and ‘black sheep’ me—not ‘black sheep,’ it’s like ‘ostracized,’ put me on the outskirts of the whole conversation. ‘He dropped from the rankings, he’s this, that, he’s turning down fights.’
“I’m like, dude, you’re going to start offering me prelim fighters and be like, ‘He turned this down.’ You guys were using that against me.”
Diaz was in no rush to return to UFC and to the Octagon unless it was under his own conditions. That opportunity arrives this weekend at UFC 241 vs Pettis.News Now - Sport News