Nate Diaz broke the combat sports world in half with his victory over Conor McGregor at UFC 196. Fight fans knew Diaz was capable of defeating "Notorious," but his second-round submission victory still resembled an unprecedented upset, especially since Diaz took the fight on less than two weeks notice.
With the victory, Diaz has climbed to incredible heights. His notoriety around mixed martial arts (MMA) and the sports world as a whole has increased tenfold. In turn, the 31-year-old Stockton native has commanded a much bigger role in marketing, advertising, promotions and media spots. Many may even consider Diaz's initial win over McGregor a giant wrench in the promotion's plans to further label the Irishman an untouchable Octagon entity.
Currently scheduled to take on McGregor once again at UFC 202 on Aug. 20 live from Las Vegas, Nevada, Diaz believes that another victory over the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) golden boy will allow him to further expand his new found spotlight.
"When it [the rematch] first got booked, I was like, 'Man, they want to get me right back in there again and try to win this back and weed me out again.' That's how I felt," said Diaz during "The Exchange," currently available via UFC Fight Pass (h/t FOX Sports). "Can I sit back for eight months and soak up some popularity and exposure and go on vacation and do what I gotta do."
"They were like, 'We want this,' and I was like why so quick? But I was like, whatever, and then the deals got done."
While Diaz earned the right to sit back and marvel in his explosive popularity, McGregor also earned the right to call his own shots and make the rematch a reality. After all, McGregor is the most popular and lucrative draw in the sport today.
"I'm going to prepare, that's about it," added Diaz about his approach for the rematch. "We're going to see. The same thing I always say: My objective is to win, I'm going to train hard and try to get it done. I believe I'm the superior martial artist and I'm just going to go in there and get the job done."
"They better hope I lose, because if I win this one I'm really taking over."
Win or lose, Diaz will remain one of the most popular names in MMA today. But if McGregor loses, his aura of invincibility would further diminish on the doorstep of a 145-pound title rematch with Jose Aldo later this year.