Nate Diaz has said he called out Jorge Masvidal because he wants to settle who the "baddest m*********" in the UFC is.
Crowd favourite Diaz returned after a three-year lay-off to score an impressive unanimous decision win against Anthony Pettis at UFC 241 in Anaheim, California. He used his post-fight interview in the Octagon to challenge "gangster" Masvidal, who is coming off two huge knockout wins against Darren Till and Ben Askren.
"That's the guy to fight, not like these wrestlers who get you on the ground and try to win a round to win the fight," Diaz said during the post-event press conference at the Honda Centre.
"We fighting for baddest m********** in the game belt, that's mine. I'd like to defend it against Jorge, you wanna be the baddest then let's do it."
Masvidal seemed receptive to the idea - the Cuban-American, whose stunning five-second flying knee KO of Askren is the fastest finish in UFC history, was there and nodded after Diaz's call out.
"Who wouldn't wanna see that fight, I think everybody would," UFC president Dana White said. "I know Masvidal believes he should get the next (welterweight title) shot after the Kamaru Usman-Colby Covington fight. We'll see. If he wanted to take that fight (Diaz) it'd be fun and I wouldn't be opposed to it."
White was impressed by Diaz's display after such a long absence from the Octagon - his last fight was Conor McGregor in August 2016.
"He did what he wanted against one of the top 10 guys in the world after a three-year lay-off. That's pretty damn impressive," White said, adding that Diaz is "a needle mover now".
"That's not a good business move to tell me I'm the s***," Diaz said. "Give me some 'I'm the s*** money'. He had to do what he had to do. But it's cool he said the fact."
Diaz expanded on his reasoning for calling out Masvidal. "Just because you got to recognise who's the best of the best in this game and it's not who they say it is, it's who I'm saying it is," he said.
"It's guys who been here forever and are now still top of their game, like Pettis just knocked out Steven Thompson, who was just fighting for the title. Pettis knocks his a** out real quick. They're trying to pump up a dude (Ben Askren), Masvidal knocks his a** out.
"I been here since 2004, he's been here a little longer, and he just did that. And I just did that. That's the best fighter to me, the best martial artist who's on top of his game. I been through waves of these guys who peak, get the belt, get their a** whipped. Have another win then another loss. That's not the best fighters for me. I been here 14 years fighting, still killing."
Diaz pointed to examples like Jake Ellenberger and Rick Story as fighters who were "here then gone".
"I'm like, 'What's up, I'm still here'. Those are the best fighters in the world to me," he said, adding he would be willing to fight "next month" if needed.
"But if they wanna get this done and treat it like it should be treated, I ain't in no rush. It's not me gonna be sitting out, it's gonna be them holding out, not jumping on it, trying to get it done.
"That's where I been the last three years. I been in training camp, no one was showing acknowledgement of me being best fighter in the world.
"I'm looking for a bad a*** fight. Whip somebody's a** and recognise the other guy, and say, 'Hey, I'm the head a** whooper here. I did that with Conor, they were promoting him like he was top gun, that made me hot.
"Nothing personal with the dude, but if you're gonna not acknowledge I've been here … When did Pettis start fighting, and Conor? Them fools probably watched me fight in the UFC in high school. I'm disrespected.
"When you get a video game like Street Fighter, who you gonna pick? I wanna pick the bad a** that does the coolest s***. I believe I'm the coolest out of all these sorry a** m************. I'm gonna take what's mine, the baddest m*********** title, I need that belt made as soon as possible. I don't know who that is, if we got somebody good to fought, that's who we wanna fight. That's what I'm saying. If you been here two weeks I don't give a s***."
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