According to Nick Diaz, his brother’s fight against Conor McGregor at UFC 202 was a game of inches, one that could have swayed based on his presence alone.
“Just one inch. That’s the difference between how that fight could’ve gone. As far as I’m concerned, I definitely could’ve been that inch,” Diaz said on Opie Radio. “They just wanted to keep me out of there. It would’ve definitely helped him out a lot. I was seeing things in that fight that I would have called and told him. I was seeing things that he wasn’t seeing. Because I do these things, and I know how they work out for me. It’s kind of like a formula. I’m like, ‘Hey look, this is what you do.’
“Come the third and fourth round, I think we would have been able to put it together and get that guy out of there.”
Ultimately, Nate Diaz lost a hard-fought majority decision to McGregor in their Aug. 20 rematch. Diaz defeated the Irishman via second-round submission in their first meeting at UFC 196 in March. The Nevada Athletic Commission did not allow Nick Diaz to corner his brother because he hadn’t paid a fine from his suspension for a failed drug test at UFC 183. The NAC wanted Diaz to pay at least $25,000 of a $75,000 penalty for a positive marijuana screening from the January 2015 event.
Instead of being Octagonside, Diaz was forced to watch the bout on television.
[Gilbert] Melendez is there. He’s great; he’s really smart. He knows what he’s looking at. They’re training partners. They’re kinda opposites, stylistically because he’s more of a wrestler. The things that Gilbert would tell him to do is more of what Gilbert would do. The things I would tell him to do is more of what he would do,’ Diaz said. “…He [Melendez] wasn’t going to see the things that I was seeing. That was kind of rough. It’s hard enough to watch the fight being there. And I’m watching on TV, I can’t do anything.”
Even without his older brother, Nate Diaz bounced back from being knocked down three times in the first two frames to have McGregor reeling by the third stanza. Somehow, the “Notorious” one found a second wind and held on for the victory in the championship frames.
“I thought he had him out of there for sure at one point in the third round. I was like, ‘There’s just no way you’re coming back from that.’ I would’ve told him not to throw punches at that dude at all because he’s going to sit there and watch you and try to counter everything. All you’ve got to do is fake at him and flick at him and f—k with him. He just didn’t have it together in the first round. I could’ve clicked him into the right mindset,” Diaz said.
“Plus, me standing in front of him, fooling around with him and standing in front of him with my right hand forward -- all three of us stand the same way, so he doesn't have anybody else like that to kind of work with him, and I just think that it would've definitely helped out having me there a little bit.”