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Nate Diaz not interested in fighting for 'fake' interim titles

LAS VEGAS -- At a time when interim UFC titles are all the rage, leave it to Nate Diaz to have zero interest in one.

Last month, UFC offered Diaz (19-11) an interim lightweight title fight against Tony Ferguson at UFC 213 on July 8. Diaz said he agreed to the opponent and date but preferred a nontitle 165-pound catchweight bout.

"If you're trying to pull me out of a normal life right now, I'm not doing it for a fake title at 155 pounds," Diaz told ESPN. "I told them I'd take the fight at 165 pounds, no belt. I'm not interested in losing a bunch of weight for no reason."

Diaz, 32, said he has financial expectations as well, but nothing he considers "too major." According to him, UFC never responded to his counteroffer. So for now, he doesn't anticipate booking a fight soon.

"We never talked after that," Diaz said. "It's really not a problem for me, though. You're trying to call me out of my life. I didn't call you begging for a fight. I'm fine with taking a fight, but I'm telling you what it's going to take."

It's unusual to see a UFC fighter decline an opportunity to fight for a title -- even an interim one. There's the recognition of being a champion, of course, but holding a UFC title also activates pay-per-view bonuses in certain fighters' contracts.

UFC president Dana White plainly referred to this in a recent conversation with Yahoo! Sports about Diaz's situation.

"The kid isn't in a position for pay-per-view or any of that type of [stuff]." White said. "But this [Ferguson fight] could put him in a position. If he fought Tony Ferguson, it would be for the interim title.

"Obviously, if you held the interim title, you would get a piece of the pay-per-view. Diaz has to put himself in a position to make the pay-per-view money."

This is where Diaz fails to see eye-to-eye with White and UFC. Basically, he sees no value in a UFC title. He believes his marketability is independent of whether or not he is fighting for one.

"Titles are manipulation," Diaz said. "Titles and rankings are a controlling method. They want you to think you need a title to feel like you're worth anything. I think, if you're worth something, you're worth something.

"You start believing in that title theory, you'll be chasing one forever and living delusional."

On White's comments regarding his situation and pay-per-view, Diaz said, "He's making stuff up because that's what he needs to do. He's trying to get me to argue with him, but there's no argument necessary. It's cool. If I'm not worth s---, why am I all over the news with people trying to figure out what's what, when I'm not fighting?"

Since his last appearance, a blockbuster rematch against Conor McGregor at UFC 202 in August, Diaz said he has turned down only one offer outright -- a fight against Eddie Alvarez. Diaz said UFC knew he would turn that fight down.

Alvarez is a former champion, but he is coming off a lopsided loss to McGregor in November. Diaz said there was no incentive to get a win over Alvarez after his poor showing against McGregor. In Diaz's words, it would be like "beating up a sixth-grader."

Many perceive Diaz to be holding out for a potential trilogy fight against McGregor, who celebrated the birth of his first child this month. Those two fought twice in 2016, and the series stands at 1-1.

Diaz, of Stockton, California, adamantly said he is not waiting for McGregor and is willing to fight someone else -- but the circumstances have to be right.

"If they call me with a nonsense fight, my number is $20 million," Diaz said. "You call me with a fight that won't do me any good, you need to pay me $20 million just to hear that bulls---.

"I have a contract, but that's only for when I want to fight. That's how that works, right? Right now, I don't want to fight nobody."