One week prior to Nate Diaz’s 2015 bout against Michael Johnson, Conor McGregor had effectively hijacked the entire sport of MMA in 13 seconds. His star was past the moon, and fighters across the UFC roster had taken notice. Among this list was none other than Nate Diaz.
It’s hard to imagine MMA history without the McGregor/Diaz sequel. Yet, there was a very high chance that we would have never seen that bout. When McGregor captured the featherweight championship from José Aldo at UFC 194, Nate Diaz was not at all in the lightweight title picture. And McGregor had already set his sights on champ-champ status with the full support of the promotion, which went on to book McGregor vs. then-lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos for UFC 196.
Some may only remember Diaz’s viral callout after defeating Johnson, but that was not the first time he challenged The Notorious One. Two days prior to the Diaz/Johnson bout, he was already looking ahead to a potential money fight against McGregor. Check out this clip below.
“He don’t want that fight,” Diaz told MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani of McGregor on this week six years ago. “You’re going to fight those guys who you punked at the press conference? You guys lost. I don’t know if people think about it like that. When I saw that, I was a fight fan. I’m not a fan anymore. I signed up for fighting to let you know I’m the motherf*cking … you know? What did you sign up for? I’m a fighter. You’re going to sit there and steal the show at my press conference? Then I’m going to step the f*ck up. Conor did a great job. He did a great job. That’s what you’re supposed to do. If he wants to come up and get the money fight, get the good fight … you know where that’s at.”
The press conference Diaz is referring to is the GO BIG press conference of 2015, which saw McGregor steal the show with his trash-talking of multiple fighters, including Rafael dos Anjos, Chad Mendes, and Donald Cerrone. It was also the birth of McGregor’s famous “red panty night” line.
Here, Diaz voiced his desire to fight Conor McGregor in a money fight and stand up to the Irishman, something which he clearly felt his peers at the GO BIG press conference did not do.
Then, after Diaz defeated Michael Johnson at UFC on FOX 17 two days later, we got this piece of MMA history:
“Fuck that! Conor McGregor, you’re taking everything I worked for, motherfucker. I’m gonna fight your fucking ass. You know what’s the real fight, what’s the real money fight: It’s me! Not these clowns that you already punked at the press conference. Don’t nobody want to see that. You know you beat them already. That’s the easy fight. You want that real shit. Right here.”
Fortunately for Diaz, Rafael dos Anjos would later pull out of his UFC 196 bout against McGregor, which allowed Diaz to step in on short notice and get what he wanted. And Diaz, McGregor, the UFC, and MMA history would never be the same again.