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UFC 202: Why Nate Diaz Already Won This War

Nate Diaz (Credit:

Nate Diaz (Credit:


In case you haven’t heard, Saturday night’s UFC 202 main event star Nate Diaz doesn’t “give a f***”. Oh, and his opponent Conor McGregor doesn’t “give a fook either”.

Conor, you may want to start because Nate already won this war.

At UFC on FOX 17 back in December, we saw a Nate Diaz we hadn’t seen in a while. In shape and giving one of the best performances of his career against top lightweight contender Michael Johnson. Little did we know till his exploitive post-fight speech that there was one man on his mind next, Conor McGregor.

That night was one week after McGregor had knockout former #1 pound-for-pound fighter Jose Aldo in 13 seconds at UFC 194, becoming the unified UFC Featherweight champion. Everyone and their mother was calling out McGregor after that night. Everyone wanted to be the one to dismantle the self-proclaimed UFC king. Diaz was the only one to use not only his skilled performance, but black belt in trash talking, to get his name to the top of that list.

When former UFC Lightweight champion, and McGregor’s next opponent, Rafael Dos Anjos withdrew from their UFC 196 main event title fight in March due to injury on 11 days’ notice, social media roared “Stockton 209” till the UFC brass gave in to what we all already knew, Nate was the opponent to save this card.

To the casual fan (or a McGregor fan), this sounded like easy work for the 145-pound champ. No weight cut was needed and Diaz was returning from a tequila-filled vacation in Cabo with no fight camp and high-pressure media days ahead of him. Easy work.

To the die hard fight fans, even those who were also fans of McGregor, they knew this match up was trouble. Not due to the size difference or the cement in a Diaz chin or the high-level ground game the brothers are known for, but that Conor had just met his mental match.

You can’t break a Diaz brother mentally. You just can’t. Nate and his older brother UFC Middleweight Nick are notorious for their pre-fight antics, cussing filled trash talk and middle finger greetings. They go into their fights with the mentality “kill or be killed” and have both lived through their losses in the octagon. This was no difference.

Well, there was one difference. The massive payday.

UFC 196 put Nate on the map when it came to high-paid fighters, and it was about time. After a decade in the UFC, the recognition and respect was finally there. Along with the six-figure paycheck.

Diaz “shook the world” as UFC color commentator Joe Rogan said in the post-fight interview when he submitted McGregor late in the second round of their main event bout. Diaz replied with the now famous phrase, “I’m not surprised motherf*****s”, and neither were the Stockton fans. T-shirts, mugs, posters and fan art flooded the social media scene instantly.

With the UFC’s featherweight champ not getting his hand raised for the first time in the octagon, a rematch was evident for UFC 200 in July. After the UFC pulled the rematch from the historic card nearly a month prior due to press non-compliance on McGregor’s part, planning for UFC 202 began. Diaz, however, made sure he got what he deserved for both cards.

According to Diaz’s interview on the Fox Sports 1 special “Bad Blood: Diaz vs McGregor 2”, Diaz disclosed that when negotiations started for 202, they tried to push the contract from 200 to the August bout, basically negating the press obligations that Diaz had full-filled on his end of the deal. Using his cards skillfully, Diaz made sure to get his show money for 200, while negotiation a new contract for 202. While no direct amounts have been announced yet, you know its BANK.

So if you haven’t already figured it out, let me explain how Nate has already won this weekend. And possibly the entire war.

Nate never did this for McGregor, as a person or as a fighter. He did this for the money fight. He did this for the years and years of real talk he’s called people out on in the UFC and only gotten shushed or pegged as the bad guy. If Nate loses Saturday night, this isn’t his first loss in the octagon and it probably won’t be his last, and he’s realistic to that. And if he doesn’t get his hand raised, we’re set up for a huge, lucrative trilogy fight. Some may argue that a victory may play against Nate’s future success and giving Conor the ‘W’ is best for business, but that’s not how Diaz’s roll. Thank god.

At Wednesday’s UFC 202 Pre-Fight press conference, McGregor fans hyped all over social media that Nate’s water bottle melee following Conor’s late arrival was due to “mental breaking”. Do yourselves a favor and watch UFC 202: Embedded 4 before re-tweeting that.

Nate’s laughing (which media outlets at the conference stated on Twitter was due to older brother Nick motioning for his little brother to walk out) is not mental breaking.

Middle fingers flying up? Standard. All of Stockton following him out? Standard. Water bottle throwing? Not standard but should be. McGregor looking like a lunatic throwing cans while losing his mind? Mental breaking. Fighting back with UFC Head of Public Relations Dave Scholler as he pulls him off the stage shouting, “Let me back out there! Let me talk!”? Mental breaking. Realizing the McGregor show is now the Diaz show? Mental. Breaking.

After the altercation, MGM Grand security stated neither members of Team Diaz nor Team McGregor are permitted at the public weigh in’s on Friday.

*eye roll* C’mon guys! Just when it was getting good.

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Kristine is a Managing Editor for as well as UFC/MMA Lead Writer. She also hosts a column known as Fighting Words.
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