Jon Anik Believes Nate Diaz Moves The Needle Even Without Conor McGregor

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We haven’t seen Nate Diaz since he won the Conor McGregor lottery twice. We haven’t seen Nick Diaz for way longer. It’s understandable. For selfish reasons, we’d love to see the Stockton soldiers back in the Octagon slapping their opponents, but both are making a good living with a wide variety of sponsors, endorsements, appearances and seminars. If they did come back, Jon Anik is convinced that they would put a significant boost in pay-per-view draws, with or without McGregor.

“If you’re asking me, I think [Nate Diaz] is a top five pay-per-view draw in the company right now. I think Daniel Cormier is in that mix because he’s been buoyed by the two Jon Jones fights. But I think Nate Diaz can carry a pay-per-view without Conor McGregor. Will he be afforded that opportunity? I don’t know. I’m not sure we’re going to see Nick [Diaz] again, but I definitely think we are going to see Nate Diaz. I think it’s interesting when you talk about him as a pay-per-view draw. What do the internal metrics say about how much Nate Diaz moves that needle relative to his opponent Conor McGregor?”

“I think Nate Diaz can carry a pay-per-view and do 400,000-plus pay-per-view buys on his own. I really do. Even in a non-championship situation. I don’t know if my bosses agree, but I’d love to see him be afforded that opportunity. […] I do think you’ll see Nate Diaz at least once here in 2018, and we’ll pray to the masses that it happens. For a lot of fans, I think the Diaz Brothers were what really drew us into martial arts. I remember when I was cutting my teeth, and I would tell people, ‘Just go watch Nick Diaz. If you’re wondering why I love the sport so much, just go watch Nick Diaz.’ There’s just something about these guys that is just so compelling and so captivating.” — Jon Anik speaking to MMA Junkie.

While Nate Diaz may be pacing back and forth on the sidelines waiting for his million dollar contract to fight Conor McGregor, Anik may be completely right that he doesn’t need him to draw big. Coming off their two huge fights which drew just below and then eventually surpassed the historic UFC 100, Diaz ascended to a superstardom that he never had in his 14-year career. Fights with Eddie Alvarez and Tyron Woodley were talked about, but never came to fruition. If they did though, no doubt they’d put butts in seats.

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/9/2018.