Stockton, California's prodigal son dazzles in his return to the octagon.
UFC 241 was being touted as the promotion's strongest fight card in some time, and with good reason. In last night's co-main event, a rejuvenated Nate Diaz returned to the octagon to face Anthony Pettis after a three-year hiatus, three years too long. By abstaining for an indeterminate amount of time (before the call-up), Diaz was in no way hopeful Dana White would come to his senses, and assign him a matchup of his liking: former Lightweight Champion Anthony "Showtime" Pettis.
Although he hadn't fought since his controversial loss to Conor McGregor at UFC 202 in 2016, Diaz certainly looked as though he'd barely missed a step it at all, dominating his opponent from start to finish, on the ground (namely in the 1st and 3rd rounds) and from a stand-up position. The judges ringside would inevitably score the bout 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 all in Diaz' favor.
Afterward, he stood at the center of the octagon with Joe Rogan hyping up a prospective matchup with Jorge "Gamebred" Masvidal, much to the delight of the Honda Center crowd.
"All respect to the man, but there ain't no gangsters in this game anymore," he said of Masvidal. "There ain't nobody who does it right but me and him," said Diaz, so I know my man's a gangster, but he ain't no West Coast gangster."
If it were up to you, who would you like to see Diaz fight next? Masvidal for his part seems inclined to leverage his run of form into a series of big money fights. Both he and Diaz understand that father time can strike without a moment's notice. In 32 sanctioned bouts, Diaz's MMA record now stands at 21 wins and 11 losses, 12 of those Ws coming by way of submission.