In his 10th year as a UFC fighter, Nate Diaz has the benefit of a long memory to provide perspective on the weight divide at the heart of his Saturday UFC 202 showdown against Conor McGregor.
Though McGregor implied in the last week that Diaz is over the fight’s 170-pound weight limit and intends to use every pound to his advantage over the Irishman who wears the 145-pound belt, Diaz makes no apologies for any McGregor discomfort.
“He’s trying to make excuses. Every time, he’s bringing up my weight,” Diaz said.
The fighter said he was over the weight, but that "I’m nothing a couple skipped dinners won’t take care of.”
It wasn’t so long ago, Diaz reminded, when the UFC steered him away from the welterweight division back to the 155-pound lightweight division. He currently stands as the UFC’s No. 4-ranked lightweight.
“When I tried welterweight when I was younger, they said, ‘No, you’re too small, you’ve got to fight at lightweight.’ All of a sudden I’m a welterweight … they keep labeling me a welterweight,” Diaz said.
The only reason Diaz’s March 5 victory came at 170 pounds was that he had just returned from a Mexican vacation when then-lightweight-champion Rafael dos Anjos injured his foot in training, scrapping his fight with McGregor and requiring an emergency replacement opponent of interest.
Diaz agreed to take the fight, but preferred remaining at his higher weight with less than two weeks to prepare for McGregor. McGregor agreed, lost by second-round submission and has now boldly sought a rematch at the same weight.
McGregor told the Los Angeles Times on Saturday that he was a few pounds below the 170-pound limit.
“He said he was [capable of one day] going to jump up three classes to middleweight,” Diaz said. “Now, all of a sudden, a lightweight’s beat him and I’m [being called] a welterweight.
“Man, all those excuses.”