Nate Diaz: Anthony Pettis 'keeping me away from all the lame fighters that aren't doing (expletive)'

Many have wondered what it would take to get Nate Diaz back into the octagon.

Well for starters, Anthony Pettis.

Diaz (19-11 MMA, 14-9 UFC) is set to make his return to the cage this Saturday, when he takes on Pettis (22-8 MMA, 9-7 UFC) in the co-main event of UFC 241 at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.

For Diaz, Pettis fits the bill, his exciting style and March knockout win over  Stephen Thompson at UFC on ESPN+ 6, putting “Showtime” on his radar.

“I was like, ‘All right, you know what, Pettis is knocking out Thompson and doing all this cool (expletive) when he fights,’ and I’m like, ‘Man, that’s an eligible opponent, and I dig that,’” Diaz told ESPN in a sit-down interview. “I don’t need to be signing up for fights just because I want to punch someone in the face. That’s not cool. I want a fight that’s going to motivate me to fight.”

“Good fighters and good fights.”

Diaz, who despite three years on the sidelines remains one of the biggest names in the sport, vented his frustration on fellow fighters’ inability to make a mark. While many have risen and fallen, “The Ultimate Fighter 5” winner is still here, 12 years after the reality series.

“The fighters are boring, that’s what I’m saying,” Diaz said. “Where are the people at? Where’s Jake Ellenberger? You know how many people I’ve seen come into the game way after me, be this new hot (expletive), be a champion? You’re the guy, then you’re on a downhill and you have one more win, then you’re gone. So many of those have came and gone, and I was here, and I’m still here.”

So after all this time away, where does a win over Pettis take Diaz? He’s not sure, he admits. It remains to be seen who might grab his attention next.

“This fight is keeping me away from all the lame fighters that aren’t doing (expletive), getting love, then not doing anything with it,” Diaz said. “I would have a go. I’d be like, ‘I’m going to do this; I’m going to fight this guy and do my best to win, and when I win, I’m going to do something with that.’ Mics are on, you better make something happen.”

For Diaz, he insists his career choices are not just about the money, they’re about booking the right opponent. Styles make fights, and when he looks at current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, it’s just not the stylistic matchup he believes the fans want to see.

“I feel like I’m just better and cooler than those guys; what the hell would I want to fight them for?” Diaz asked. “Pettis is cooler than both of them, fight-wise, you know what I’m saying?

“I feel like I’m in a position to pick and choose because I’ve done more than all of these fighters.”

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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