Nate Diaz doesn’t harbor dreams of UFC gold.
For the Stockton, Calif., native, career accomplishments are best measured by the zeroes in the bank account, not the hardware in the trophy case. That’s why, if the rematch with Conor McGregor takes place at UFC 200 as rumored, Diaz won’t care that a championship is not at stake.
“I think that title thing is a fairy tale,” Diaz said Wednesday on UFC Tonight. “The best fighters in the world are getting paid the best money. The belt is a fairy tale, as far as I’m concerned. That might piss a lot of people off.”
Diaz is only now realizing his earnings potential within the Las Vegas-based promotion in the wake of his second-round submission triumph against McGregor at UFC 196. For that bout, Diaz earned a disclosed payday of $600,000 (including $100,000 in bonuses). And UFC President Dana White has hinted that the Cesar Gracie protege took home quite a bit more than that.
The event was a box-office hit as well, doing in the neighborhood of 1.5 million pay-per-view buys, according to White. That success could very well be the promotion’s impetus behind booking a rematch. For his part, Diaz understands why a return date with McGregor could be in the offing, and he is not opposed to the possibility.
“It’s a real fight. People want to see it,” Diaz said. “When you get a real fight, people appreciate it. If he wants it and UFC wants it, let’s run it back. If not, whatever. I’m here to fight the best fighters in the world.”
However, Diaz would rather not fight McGregor at 170 pounds again, as he did when he replaced Rafael dos Anjos on short notice at UFC 196. In the days leading up to the bout, McGregor claimed that Diaz couldn’t make lightweight, an assertion “The Ultimate Fighter 5” veteran denied. With a full camp, Diaz thinks he’d be better off at 155 pounds.
“If there’s a second fight, I’ll fight at 55. I’d like to be in shape,” he said. “I don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to hear no excuses. I’ll make 55. I was planning on making 55 last time.”