Stockton’s Finest is Coming Back and He’s Explained the Reason Why He’s Fighting Former UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis…
What is this? Respect between Nate Diaz and Anthony Pettis? The pair have one of the longest-running grudges in MMA, going way back to when ‘Showtime’ was the champion of the world. Pettis is not the most outspoken fighter in the world, and he’s normally very respectful towards his fellow fighters, but Diaz is one man he does not like.
That may change after they finally fight on August 18 at UFC 241. Diaz is returning to the octagon after almost three years out of the cage. The fan-favourite has been perennially underused by the promotion despite having star potential. After waiting on the sidelines for a trilogy fight against Conor McGregor, Diaz has finally abandoned that notion.
Now he’s spoken out about why he’s chosen to take on Pettis of all people in the welterweight division. It was a totally unexpected match-up, but one that fans are definitely getting behind. It might surprise you that he’s got a lot of respect for the former 155lb champion.
Diaz is known for his gritty boxing style and an underrated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game. In contrast, Pettis is a very flashy striker. His famous ‘showtime’ kick against Benson Henderson is still common in the classic MMA highlight reels. In his prime, ‘Showtime’ was the slickest striker around.
“I think it is the best fight,” Diaz said in a recent interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani. “He is coming off of a good win and he’s one of the top guys, one of the better guys in the division. Most entertaining fighter in the UFC, I like that.”
That’s unexpectedly respectful from the younger Diaz brother, considering his relationship with Pettis.
One of the other traits that characterise Diaz is his lack of patience for nonsense. He hates when people are fake and doesn’t have much respect for wrestling in MMA (although that could be because he’s not very good against them.) Pettis though is the sort of fighter he enjoys watching.
“It’s a guy I actually enjoy watching over the rest of these fighters,” Diaz said of Pettis. “Everyone is getting boring, the fight game. If I’m going to take part in any fights, I want a fight that is interesting to not only me but to the fight fan. If I’m a fight fan I want to see an interesting fight, not a boring fight.”
Hard to Call
Pettis is on a strange one-step forward, one-step trajectory at the moment, He wins, then loses, then wins again and loses again. Most recently he came back dramatically against Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson, with a dramatic ‘Showtime punch.’ This came after he got pieced up for practically all of the fight.
Diaz will fancy his chances against his fellow former lightweight. However, there will definitely be questions asked about his motivation and whether or not ring rust will affect him. We can say with certainty though, that the UFC is a better place with him in it.