It’s been three years since Nate Diaz famously battled Conor McGregor but at long last, he now appears to be back.
Booked to take on Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis, Diaz (19-11) is seemingly excited for this particular matchup too. In fact, according to Pettis’ long-time head coach Duke Roufus, this fight was actually suggested by Diaz himself. “Diaz approached us, and we all approached the UFC together to make this happen,” Roufus said on a recent Instagram Live.
“I’m very confident the fight’s going to happen, and I’m very confident how much Nate Diaz hates Anthony Pettis that he wants to make that scrap happen.” From a perception point of view, this opponent is a logical one for Diaz, fighting Pettis (22-8) after he shocked most onlookers with a knockout win over Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson. That fight was Pettis’ first at 170lbs in over a decade but Diaz will be looking to halt any emerging win-streak at UFC 241.
Nonetheless, Roufus is confident, citing Diaz’s animosity towards Pettis as one of the key factors. “Let’s do a little history of Anthony Pettis: Guys who trash talk in Anthony’s face, he’s whipped their asses. One of those bad beatings was Donald Cerrone, a lot of pre-fight trash talk. How did that end? Most recently Michael Chiesa, how did that fight end? Anthony fairs well when people want to test his moxy, and he’s very motivated.”
The history between Pettis and Diaz dates back to the former’s fight with Gilbert Melendez, Nate’s close friend and teammate. The pair’s camps then also clashed in November 2013 too. Roufus said that while he personally doesn’t, “Anthony does” have ill will towards Diaz. Regardless, Roufus’ confidence remains cautious, fully aware of Diaz’s capabilities.
“He’s been motivated for this fight for years, and it’s going to be a barnburner,” he said. “Not an easy fight, but we didn’t get into this fight to hand-pick bums and beat the can of the week. Everyone counted Anthony out when he fought ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson, and that’s what’s up. Not only did he beat ‘Wonderboy,’ he was the first one to knock him out in 87 fights.”
UFC 241 takes place on August 17th at the Honda Center. The main card will air on ESPN+ PPV while the undercard is split between ESPN and ESPN+.