If Nate Diaz makes his long-awaited return to the Octagon at UFC 241 as planned, it will be against a very hostile opponent. Anthony Pettis, the man tasked with welcoming Diaz back to the Octagon, divulged on Ariel Helwani’s MMA show on Monday that this fight is very personal for him.
He’s says he’s excited for the opportunity to hurt the younger Diaz brother.
RE: Nate Diaz
“It’s personal. I can’t wait to put my hands on him. I can’t wait to hurt this guy.”
— Jim Edwards (@MMA_Jim) May 13, 2019
“It’s personal,” he said on the show (h/t James Edwards). “I can’t wait to put my hands on him. I can’t wait to hurt this guy.”
While the apparent beef between Anthony Pettis and Nate Diaz isn’t exactly the most high-profile beef in MMA, they do have some history.
In a 2017 interview with FightHype, Pettis explained that he’s been called out by the Diaz on numerous occasions, namely when he was the WEC and UFC lightweight champ, and doesn’t appreciate that disrespect.
“Bro, Nate Diaz ain’t shit,” Pettis said. “Me and Nate Diaz had a lot of issues… I was the champ in the UFC and the WEC, and Diaz was calling me out. He got lucky in the fight with Conor (McGregor) and got the win, but, dude, Nate Diaz ain’t shit. He ain’t shit.”
Nate Diaz and Anthony Pettis are expected to meet at welterweight.
When we last saw Pettis in action, he made his debut in the UFC welterweight division with a jaw-dropping knockout of former title challenger Stephen Thompson. This win was preceded by a loss to top lightweight contender Tony Ferguson.
Diaz has not competed since August of 2016, when he gave up decision to Conor McGregor. In his next most recent fight, he defeated McGregor by second-round submission.
Who do you think will come out on top in this grudge match between Nate Diaz and Anthony Pettis? Make your pick in the comments section.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 5/13/2019.