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Catching up with Nate Diaz before ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ 18 finale

Veteran lightweight details what kept him in 155-pound weight class and future plans

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Associated Press

Josh Thomson, left, kicks Nate Diaz during the second round of a UFC lightweight mixed martial arts fight in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, April 20, 2013. Thomson won by technical knockout in the second round. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Gray Maynard feels his main event bout against Nate Diaz at “The Ultimate Fighter” 18 finale Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center is important to settle a long-running score.

The former lightweight top contenders split two meetings in the past. Diaz (16-9 MMA, 11-7 UFC) submitted Maynard (12-2-1 MMA, 9-2-1 UFC) in the semifinals of the reality show’s fifth season, but the latter came back to score a split-decision victory three years later at UFC Fight Night 20.

Maynard craves resolution. Diaz, as is often the case, dissents with his own point of view.

A two-fight losing streak — to Benson Henderson via unanimous decision at UFC on Fox 5 and second-round head-kick knockout to Josh Thomson at UFC on Fox 7 — has done nothing to change the fan-favorite’s always-unique outlook.

The Sun, along with several other reporters, spoke with Diaz at “The Ultimate Fighter” 18 finale’s media day Wednesday.

Read below for a transcript on some of Diaz’s thoughts.

On the score being even at one fight apiece with Gray Maynard:

It’s nothing I need to seal the deal on or anything. It didn’t keep me up at night.

Gray Maynard’s a worthy opponent. I’d rather fight him than some joker making a name for himself. And it’s “The Ultimate Fighter” here where we started, so I guess that’s pretty cool.

On dealing with losses throughout his career:

When I lose, trust me, I’m as crazy as a (expletive). I’m always trying to win. Everything I do is to win. People say it’s all for the fans. That’s some (expletive). We’re all here to win some fights.

I’ve lost some fights in this UFC, but no one has defeated me. Good luck on beating me again.

On losing to Henderson:

He wasn’t a very entertaining fighter anyway. If you lose to Henderson, it’s going to be boring. If you beat Henderson, you have to play some boring-ass games to beat him. That wasn’t too motivating of a fight.

On losing to Thomson:

They stopped the last fight, but I felt like I was still in the last fight. Obviously, they had to stop it. People have their opinions, and if I was watching from the outside, I probably would have said to stop it, too. But I remember being in that fight and winning it, and being like, ‘what the (expletive), you stopped the fight?’

If he wanted to fight me tomorrow, I’d be a little more enthusiastic about fighting him because me and him know what was going on in that fight.

On Maynard’s fighting style:

Gray can be exciting, can be boring as (expletive) — more boring than exciting. I’m not trying to say anything. It’s not that he hasn’t done some things and deserves some of his credit. But he’s not someone who would I tune in to watch.

On what he hopes comes next after Maynard:

I lost to Thomson and Anthony Pettis is the champ. They’re supposed to be the hot (expletive) right now. Those guys are the guys to beat and on top of it.

I was ready to go to 170 pounds. I’m over making weight and all this. I don’t feel I get paid good enough to lose weight all year long. I can make the weight no problem, but I wish I was getting compensated a little better for it. At the same time, I wasn’t going to leave this division letting those two (expletive) run the show.

On his longevity:

I’ll probably be here longer than everybody else unless I get hit by a truck somewhere.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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