NATE DIAZ WANTS MCGREGOR NEXT, HE THINKS UFC DISAGREES
Nate Diaz knows he’s a natural choice for Conor McGregor’s first Lightweight Title defense, but he doesn’t think that’s the fight UFC wants to make.
In an interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Diaz said that he couldn’t even get a ticket to UFC 205 to watch McGregor make history in winning the UFC Lightweight Championship on top of his Featherweight Championship, and that the promotion and McGregor want him out of the minds of fight fans.
“The UFC, they didn’t even want to give me tickets to this fight,” he told ESPN. “I think they wanted to just put this picture of him with the belts and it’s the greatest thing that ever happened. They want to kind of like keep me out of the mix and hide me out from the whole thing. It might have been in his contract, ‘don’t let Nate Diaz in here.’ I was up in the stands in the seat in the club box.”
Diaz also said that he wasn’t surprised by the result and that the fight went down just as he thought it would. After McGregor’s big win, Diaz said that those around him immediately turned to him looking for a reaction. “After the fight, everybody’s turning and looking at me,” he said. “It’s not my call.”
Diaz is aware of the potential for a third fight with McGregor, and is interested in a rubber match, but is content if it doesn’t happen. “People are asking me ‘When are you going to fight number three?’ and ‘Do you want number three?’ and of course if I do anything, that’s what I wanted, the third fight,” he said. “I’m not begging for no fight. It’s all good with me. I don’t need to fight.”
And as for who Diaz thinks got his seat at Madison Square Garden? “I think they gave Nick Jonas my seat.”
Hiscoe’s Analysis: The Diaz fight is the biggest fight that can be made for McGregor at lightweight right now. Diaz is coming off a loss to McGregor, but he is also the only person to defeat the current champ in UFC and won a convincing decision over Michael Johnson last December. If the UFC does, in fact, want Diaz out of the minds of fight fans, they’ve done a good job at it so far. Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov both had big wins shortly before McGregor’s and many fans are campaigning for one of the two to get the first crack at McGregor’s new title. Two different internet polls show a heavy favoritism for Nurmagomedov to get the fight. Our poll on MMATorch.com currently has Nurmagomedov with 39 percent of the votes as the choice to fight McGregor with Jose Aldo trailing with 20 percent of the vote. Over at UFC.com, Nurmagomedov has an overwhelming 79 percent of the votes.
So both the ardent MMA fan that reads MMATorch.com and the broader audience that visits UFC.com are most interested in seeing Khabib Nurmagomedov fight Conor McGregor after his convincing win over Michael Johnson on the UFC 205 prelims. From a business perspective, a McGregor fight is going to do well regardless who is opponent is, with Diaz being the only option that could see a bit of a bump to the number. There is the argument that it’s too soon to go to the rubber match and they’d be best served to let it simmer a bit. There is a precedent for this as the third Cain Velasquez-Junior dos Santos fight did disappointing numbers ten months after the second fight did fairly well on pay-per-view. McGregor is a different animal, though, and with big cards coming up in Brooklyn and Las Vegas early next year, the Diaz fight may be the way to go.
WEDNESDAY NEWS ITEMS
-Eddie Alvarez made an Instagram post Tuesday, apologizing for his performance against Conor McGregor at UFC 205 and saying that he greatly deviated in his gameplan which was to avoid McGregor’s left hand and to employ his wrestling game. “I did nothing I trained for,” he said. “I did the complete opposite of what we planned on a daily basis for ten weeks. To sum up our plan in a sentence, it was “Go left and mostly wrestle.” Instead, I circled into his left hand and mostly boxed. Fighting the way I did was a for sure death sentence and the result was fitting.”
-The loaded UFC 205 prelim card averaged 1.801 million viewers and did a 0.9 rating in the 18-49 demo, well above the prelim numbers prior to UFC 204 and in between the prelim numbers for Conor’s two most recent fights at UFC 196 (1.863M) and UFC 202 (1.3M).
-Bruce Buffer told TMZSports.com that he felt bad about the mixup in announcing the Tyron Woodley vs. Stephen Thompson winner, but that it wasn’t his fault. Buffer iterated that he is not responsible for adding up the scores, he is only the messenger, but that he recognized there was an error and asked if they were sure before going to the cage to make the announcement only to be called back down to be told again to read the decision (incorrectly) as a split-decision win for Woodley. He was then called down afterwards to go back and announce the proper decision of a majority draw.
-Here is a fun story about two Irish fans who manufactured their own fake media credentials for UFC 205 and videotaped their experience at the event.
-Tarec Saffiedine, who was originally scheduled to fight Matt Brown at UFC 207 before Brown was moved to UFC 206 against Donald Cerrone, will now fight Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 207.
-Chad Laprise is injured and out of his bout with Li Jingliang at UFC 206. Li will be moved to another card to be announced.
-Former Invicta fighter Colleen Schneider has signed with Bellator and will debut at Bellator 170 on Jan. 21 from Los Angeles.
(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)