Nate Diaz is again. Lastly.
Diaz, one of many UFC’s hottest fighters, will probably be again within the Octagon for the primary time in three years when he faces Anthony Pettis at UFC 241 on Saturday in Anaheim, California.
However is taking a battle with the proficient “Showtime” Pettis, who’s coming off a knockout win over former 170-pound title challenger Stephen Thompson, an excessive amount of to ask of the returning Diaz?
This was one matter mentioned on this week’s Ariel & The Unhealthy Man episode, streamed completely on ESPN+.
Chael Sonnen: Ariel, I did not even take heed to the query. Simply watching Nate proper there speaking to Brett [Okamoto], I have to inform you a narrative actual quick. Did you ever see the Dave Chappelle present, and do you keep in mind when Charlie Murphy got here on and he would inform tales and he instructed a narrative about taking part in basketball with Prince, and Prince got here out, and he was all dressed all foolish, after which it turned out Prince might actually ball, and Prince simply ran circles round him? Do you keep in mind that story? They did this at Prince’s home that had a basketball courtroom, then Prince takes them inside and makes all of them pancakes. Do you keep in mind this story?
Ariel Helwani: Sure, I do.
UFC 241 includes a heavyweight championship rematch and the return of one of the vital widespread stars within the UFC. Daniel Cormier will defend his title towards Stipe Miocic, and Nate Diaz fights for the primary time in three years, taking over Anthony Pettis. Order UFC 241 now
UFC 241: Cormier vs. Miocic 2
• Saturday, Anaheim, California
• Early prelims: ESPN+, 6:15 p.m. ET
• Prelims: ESPN, eight p.m. ET
• Important card: ESPN+ PPV, 10 p.m. ET
UFC 241 Content material:
• 24 hours within the firehouse with Stipe Miocic
• Breaking down Cormier-Miocic II
Order UFC 241 now
Sonnen: OK, I have to inform you, I went out to Lodi, California, one time. I went on the market, and I skilled with Nate Diaz. Now, I went on the market with Matt Lindland. We have been truly on the market to assist Jake Shields. Jake had introduced us in. He was on the brink of battle Georges St.-Pierre. We find yourself in Lodi. Jake’s not even there, and now we’re within the ring sparring with Nate. OK, fantastic, however Matt and I sparred a sure manner, which was much more managed. On the market in Lodi at Nate’s gymnasium, swiftly we’re preventing Nate Diaz. We get performed with all of that, we go proper subsequent door, he buys us fish tacos. That is my story.
Helwani: An actual mensch. That’s the true definition of a mensch, proper there.
I’ll reply the query. I admire the story, although, as a result of I like story time with Chael. Fairly frankly, I do not assume we get it sufficient, however that is a distinct matter for a distinct day.
Now, the query is, is he biting off greater than he can chew? And the reply is totally not. The truth is, the larger the chunk, the extra excited, if you’ll, Nate Diaz is concerning the battle. He has been ready three years to come back again as a result of nothing was actually getting him excited, nothing was attractive him to return. I by no means actually felt like he was all that within the [Dustin] Poirier battle, and also you noticed how that fizzled out. However he waited for a possibility the place Anthony Pettis was red-hot, in a brand new weight class, undefeated, simply knocked out a man who had by no means been knocked out earlier than — “Wonderboy” Thompson — after which he mentioned to his group, let’s go after that man. And when you’re listening to what he is saying there, who else does he deliver up in that clip? He brings up Jorge Masvidal, who’s hotter than anybody proper now on this sport.
He needs to go after the massive fish. That is what will get him going. Even when you’re the champion, when you’re a man like Kamaru Usman, who clearly is excellent, who’s on a roll, who’s champion however does not have lots of hype behind him, does not have lots of momentum, that does not do it for him. The belt does not do it for him. There are different individuals who say, actually, ‘I need the champion. I do not care. I simply need the belt.’ Nate Diaz, Nick Diaz have by no means been these sorts of fellows. They need the fights that get them amped up. It is a battle that will get them amped up, and consequently, I am amped up, Chael.
Sonnen: By the best way, so much has been product of the three-year layoff, and that is particularly reasonable, significantly on this sport. I’ve seen Nate. I’ve seen him backstage a lot of occasions. I’ve gone as much as him, I give him a hug, I say hiya. Each time I hug him, Ariel, I can not imagine how sturdy he is gotten. I feel the man’s lifting weights. He by no means talks about it. I am telling you, you’re going to see a bodily stronger Nate Diaz. I will come as much as him, I will say, ‘Nate, you look nice. You are not preventing, why are you in such fine condition?’ ‘Chael, I am coaching on a regular basis, I bought some youngsters courses, my coaches nonetheless make me. I am doing all the identical stuff.’ He mentioned, ‘I am truly searching for a battle. I used to be imagined to battle Poirier a minute in the past. I used to be in coaching camp for that battle. That is no downside.’ And I are likely to imagine him, that once you have a look at the X’s and O’s of this battle, actual quick for you, Ariel, Nate does not like to defend leg kicks. For no matter cause, he does not respect leg kicks. Anthony Pettis is a leg kicker. I feel Nate goes to should cope with that. The opposite aspect of the coin is if you find yourself in there and a man is throwing kicks at you, it does open up that one-two, that cross hook that Nate does so effectively.
I simply assume we will have a enjoyable battle right here, and may I add this for you as a fan? You wish to know the place I hope this battle goes in some unspecified time in the future, Ariel? I hope it goes on the bottom as a result of Anthony Pettis is the one most underrated floor fighter within the sport. I will remind you he received the championship over Benson Henderson with a submission, and I wish to see these guys in that spot.
Helwani: Oh, yeah, that might be unimaginable. I ponder what number of takedown makes an attempt there will probably be, however that will probably be a enjoyable little wrinkle to the battle.
If you have not seen it — it is a low-cost plug, however I will do it anyway — Duke Roufus, one of many nice guys on this sport, he is a head coach for Anthony Pettis, Ben Askren, Tyron Woodley and so forth. He was on my present on Monday, Chael, and he delivered one of many all-time nice promos for this battle, and fairly frankly, I did not anticipate it out of Duke as a result of he is a fairly mild-mannered man. However he seemed on the digicam, and he mentioned, ‘I simply wish to thank Nate Diaz for bringing out the outdated Showtime.’ That man might have been gone right here and there. He might have received the belt, dipped down a bit of bit, had some ups and downs. However he mentioned, and we have heard this earlier than, we have heard the cliché — ‘finest coaching camp.’ He instructed me it was the most effective coaching camp, however I believed it when he mentioned it as a result of there’s a legit rivalry right here. These guys, yow will discover the footage. Return to UFC 188 backstage in Mexico Metropolis, they’d a little bit of a run-in. There’s footage there of those two guys speaking about one another, hating one another, not liking one another, desirous to battle one another, and now we’re attending to see it. And we’re attending to see it at 170 kilos, which I feel could be very important as a result of for Nate, he hates slicing weight. I would not be stunned if we by no means see him battle once more at 155, and look, you have bought this entire new chapter for Anthony Pettis, who seemed actually good at 170 towards a former contender in Wonderboy. That simply makes it enjoyable. I can not wait. I’m offered, Chael. I simply wish to get to Anaheim.
Sonnen: I bought 4 seconds, however I’ll inform you, I feel that Pettis is on a little bit of a roll, even when you have a look at the [Tony] Ferguson battle. I do not wish to hear concerning the consequence. I wish to give attention to the efficiency. I assumed he seemed nice.
Helwani: You talked about the 4 seconds. Did you wish to say the rest? Did you are feeling like I shortchanged you? Is that why you talked about it?
Sonnen: Nah, I do not assume you probably did. You did not shortchange me. You’ve got the appropriate to say your piece, however you did not depart me a lot time, and I needed to run the clock out.