Written by Ty Reynolds
Normally the opportunity of a lifetime only comes around once in, well, a lifetime…
Not so for Nate Diaz.
His moment is circling back around only a few short months after he took full advantage of it the first time it was within his reach by defeating UFC featherweight champion and top drawing star Conor McGregor via a rear naked choke in the 2nd round during the main event of UFC 196.
By proving to be an equal to his foe in every way before, during, and after the showdown with the Irishman, Diaz did much more than earn the greatest victory of his already respected tenure; Diaz smashed through the glass ceiling he had so long perceived to be holding him back and changed his life, not just his career, forever. The Stockton native went from being a disgruntled employee who, despite being a favorite of the hardcore audience for years, wasn’t seen as a “needle mover” by Dana White & Co. to a legitimate main eventer with the skills and mainstream name-value to headline PPV’s for the foreseeable future.
In fact, it worked out so beautifully before for the Gracie-trained grappler/slugger that he might as well push his luck and return to Las Vegas this Summer to roll the dice a second time against McGregor. This time, however, the stage will be even grander and the rewards for success will likely flirt with reaching unprecedented levels.
Their short-notice bout at UFC 196 was already being heralded as the most successful show ever promoted by Zuffa, but now the opportunity exists to top even that monumental moment, as Diaz will attempt to relive history in the main event of UFC 200 in July, the most anticipated event in the history of the promotion and probably the entire sport.
After years of begging for big fights, the 30-year-old BJJ black belt now has the biggest. Twice in a row. Apparently, Diaz’s mantra of fighting anyone, anywhere, at anytime has paid off in the most substantial way possible.
This scenario really can’t get any more beneficial to the man. It’s the definition of a win-win.
If Diaz once again defeats McGregor, he will have done so in view of what is almost certain to be the largest audience to ever witness an MMA event. As a result, his star-power will increase at an exponential degree. Honestly, it’s not outside the realm of reason that Diaz could replace McGregor as the most popular fighter in the sport if he can somehow emerge victorious for a second time in a row.
Diaz has always been an infatuating character with a penchant for saying what he feels in the most brutally honest, explicit manner possible. Say what you will about his chosen vocabulary, but those F-bombs that he constantly flings at his enemies have always had one helluva large area of impact. If he can prove to the masses once and for all that his fighting skills match the abrasiveness of his language skills, then watch out. Diaz could very well find himself being censored with a 7-second delay from the set of Sportscenter to Good Morning America. There’s no guaranteeing that a second victory over McGregor will provide such acclaim for the foul-mouthed brawler, but just look what the first “W” did for Diaz. Another could do far more.
And if he were to lose? Eh, so what? Trilogy time, folks. It may not happen as quickly as the original rematch is scheduled to occur, but don’t think for even a nanosecond that UFC won’t be eager to set that match-up in motion. UFC 196 broke records and UFC 200 is all but a lock to do the same. If Diaz is upended by McGregor this go-around, a third fight is basically guaranteed to bring in millions more, as well. Even if Diaz loses, he wins again!
In the simplest terms possible, win, lose, or draw, Nate Diaz is about to get paid, paid, paid. After that he’s going to get paid some more and then some more. It isn’t going to stop now. The Californian son has finally cracked the combination and breached the vault. From here on out, it’ll be middle fingers and F-bombs for everybody at precisely 4:20 every day, only now they will come soaked in the aroma of two types of green instead of just the one.
Not everyone is going to benefit from this development like Diaz is, though. It’s safe to assume that the decision to throw Diaz back in with McGregor so soon will be met with some backlash from fans and media. Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo are probably not too thrilled to hear the news, either. Each had aspirations of getting a crack at McGregor at UFC 200. But this? This is a Stockton Slap in the face of both men. They ain’t gonna like the taste of it…Actually, the entire featherweight division is probably feeling the sting of that blow, as well. McGregor staying at 170 lbs. to face Diaz again further delays any defense of the title he snatched at UFC 194. The division is stuck in deep freeze until its ruler returns to the fold, but other, newer obligations are now making sure he won’t be coming back anytime soon.
Don’t expect Diaz to care, though. He’ll surely have a particular hand gesture and some creative dialogue prepared to answer the cries of the critics. The call has been made and the date has been set. Diaz has fought and cursed his way to another opportunity of a lifetime and he doesn’t give one single…you know what about anyone who doesn’t like it. The only thing left to do now is to give that man his money and hope he’s in a good mood when he shows up to collect.
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