At UFC 241, Nate Diaz will return to the Octagon after a near three-year hiatus when he takes on Anthony Pettis. The Stockton native last fought back in 2016, where he lost to Conor McGregor at UFC 202 via a controversial majority decision.
For Pettis, he last fought back in March where he knocked out Stephen Thompson in his welterweight debut. Now, ahead of the fight, “Wonderboy” broke down the Diaz vs Pettis matchup and is leaning towards his most recent opponent getting his hand raised for a number of reasons.
“Yeah man, I think that’s a very interesting fight,” Thompson said to Submission Radio. “You got an explosive guy versus kind of like a marathon guy. Nate Diaz being the marathoner and Anthony Pettis being the more explosive guy, the sprinter. Anthony, he’s had some gas tank problems in the past. I think he might have fixed that. But he’s super fast and tricky. He’s caught some really good jiu-jitsu guys. He’s really good everywhere.
“So is Nate. Nate takes a lot of damage but he’s very hard because he’s very long. He keeps his opponents at bay with his striking as you saw with Conor McGregor. Conor McGregor had a hard time catching him with his hands because he was so long. And he’s just relentless. Him and his brother take shots and they just keep coming forward.
“But Anthony Pettis is fast. I’m going for Anthony just because I’ve been a fan of him for a while and he was my last loss, so I would like to see him do well. We were cool after the fight too, he’s such a cool dude. And we come from a similar background so I would like to see that style do well. It’s going to be fun. Hopefully, Anthony Pettis has a good gas tank and I think he can out-trick Nate Diaz.”
Another reason why Thompson is favoring Pettis is the fact Diaz hasn’t fought in three years. He isn’t sure if ring rust is a factor, or if he will be the same fighter.
“It’s been a while since he’s fought,” Thompson said of Diaz. “I think it’s been a few years. I think his last might have been Conor? Wow. So it’s been a while. Is Nate the same guy? We don’t know. So I’m going with my man Pettis.”
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This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 7/18/2019.