Conor McGregor praises ‘bonafide superstar’ Nate Diaz for fighting out contract at UFC 279

·3 min read

Conor McGregor had only praise for longtime rival and “bonafide superstar” Nate Diaz ahead of his likely octagon farewell bout at UFC 279.

Diaz (20-13 MMA, 15-11 UFC) will fight out the final bout on his current contract tonight when he meets Tony Ferguson (25-7 MMA, 15-5 UFC) in a welterweight headliner at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPNNEWS and ESPN+.

It hasn’t been an easy road to get to this point for Diaz. He’s been forced to the sidelines, offered illogical matchups and had to weave his way through UFC tactics to get to the cusp of free agency. He was supposed to fight undefeated wrecking machine Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 279, but the card was reshuffled when Chimaev missed weight by 7.5 pounds.

Nevertheless, Diaz is here, and McGregor (22-6 MMA, 10-4 UFC) – who has two fights remaining on his own contract – congratulated his two-time opponent and said even though Diaz is on his way out, their rivalry isn’t done (via Twitter):

Congrats Nate Diaz on making it to the end of his contractual obligations with the UFC, and as a bonafide superstar goer. An incredible feat. Fair play.
Our trilogy will happen.

McGregor and Diaz fought in two of the more memorable fights in UFC history. Diaz scored a shocking upset on short notice and handed McGregor his first octagon loss at UFC 196 in March 2016, only for “The Notorious” to storm back and win a majority decision in the rematch at UFC 202 in August 2016.

A third encounter has been talked about for years, and both men have stated it will happen before their careers conclude.

McGregor also had some thoughts on Chimaev’s weight miss, and said the UFC should’ve provided a sterner punishment by pulling him from the card instead of placing him into a bout with Kevin Holland (via Twitter):

My opinion they should have pulled khamzat from the card entirely. Reconfiguring bouts, and with a more favorable bout for the failed cutter, will only make many others in the game follow suit. The smirks on the scale where enough for me. Pull from the card and starve. McG UFC.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 279.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie