Nate Diaz will make his triumphant return at UFC 241 when he takes on Anthony Pettis. When he does, it will be the first time he fights since August of 2016 when he lost to Conor McGregor.

Although the reason why he hasn’t fought is unknown, Diaz says the UFC wanted him to vanish after the loss.

“The whole time I’m sitting there waiting, like, when is someone gonna step they stupid-ass up and start calling for a fight? Because that’s what I did,” Diaz said to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. “You’re the guy getting all the love and all the s*it that I’ve worked hard for and they’re just handing it over and promoting it and I put work in. And if you’re not thinking this guy’s getting what you worked for, you’re f*cking not working hard enough. That’s thought of over miles and rounds and over training f*cking thoughts.”

“A lot of work was put into those thoughts. If you’re not spittin’ that and saying that s*it, then you shouldn’t even be in that position. So I saw what was happening and I went out and took it. Okay, this is what I’m about to do. Two years flew by, I’m like, I ain’t gotta be beggin’ nobody to f*cking fight. I don’t need to fight.”

“I beat the best guy at the moment, I beat the best guy, and you guys are just treating me like, vanished. Then I’m like, Oh well f*ck me, so f*ck you. But then after a certain, while I’m like, what’s wrong with all these fighters? I’m a bigger draw, a bigger fight than anybody in the game and you guys are going to just sit back and not participate and ‘black sheep’ me—not ‘black sheep,’ it’s like ‘ostracized,’ put me on the outskirts of the whole conversation. ‘He dropped from the rankings, he’s this, that, he’s turning down fights.’ I’m like, dude, you’re going to start offering me prelim fighters and be like, ‘He turned this down.’ You guys were using that against me,” he added.

Since he was gone, he has been removed from the rankings. When he returns, he will look to get back into the win column. Yet, Diaz remains adamant he did not lose his last fight.

Although his record says he lost, many think he was also sidelined due to him wanting the trilogy bout with McGregor. However, he says that is not the case and instead was not waiting for any fight.

“I wasn’t waiting for him for a second,” Diaz said. “I’ve done the whole game. I’m a top-two fighter in the whole game right now, three, maybe, Jon Jones. Three. And that’s not fighting for three years,” Diaz continued. “I don’t need to fight. I sneeze loud and everybody hears about it. But then it’s like, hold up, you guys just want me to sit out and vent. This is what everybody wants. So I’m over here, like, not feeling—I said it after the fight the first time that I was institutionalized in this fight game and stuff, and it really stayed like that.”

“What’s happening was I’m telling myself to take it easy and don’t try and do stuff because I’m not fighting. I’m like, f*ck all that, so I’m training these last three years harder than anybody fighting, so it’s wear and tear. If I’m gonna be training with all my fighters for their fights and training for a lifestyle—it’s been my hobby to train.”

For now, Nate Diaz will return to the Octagon at UFC 241. Whether or not this is a one-off or if he will remain active is to be seen. However, many are excited the Stockton-native will be fighting again.

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The Scrap’s Cole Shelton is a full-time MMA writer for various news outlets. Make sure to follow Cole on Twitter (@ColeShelton91) for a variety of content.

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