Nate Diaz is fresh off a thrilling upset of the UFC's biggest star, Conor McGregor. He has become a target of TMZ-style celebrity coverage and even has something resembling an online beef with Justin Bieber.
But despite his recent surge in popularity, Diaz, 30, says he can't help but feel certain people want to see order restored as soon as possible. "Order" meaning McGregor's stardom.
"I feel like, honest, I feel like the UFC wants to weed me the f--- out of this position," Diaz told ESPN.com. "I don't know if I'm supposed to say that. Sorry. I feel like a lot of people are coming at me now. I see them making a lot of excuses for him, and I think it's kind of ridiculous.
"I don't think it's just the UFC. It's everybody. People are saying, 'Oh, [McGregor] is great, he's accepted the loss so well.' If I would have lost, people would be saying, 'piece of s--- shouldn't have accepted the fight.' I don't mean to be bitter, but there are a lot of excuses being made for this guy. He's talking about winning the first round. There are five rounds in a fight. Who gives a s--- if you won a round? You lost."
Diaz (19-10) submitted McGregor at UFC 196 on March 5 in Las Vegas. Following a win like that, he says he would like to see his face plastered on city buses and across UFC gyms -- as McGregor's has been.
Either way, though, he's not losing sleep over it. A professional fighter since 2004, Diaz has hit the most lucrative period of his career.
Less than two years ago, Diaz was struggling to stay motivated due to his contractual status with the UFC. He signed an eight-fight extension in 2012, prior to a lightweight championship fight against Benson Henderson. He lost that fight via decision and in his next appearance, a main card tilt against Josh Thomson, his disclosed pay plummeted to $15,000 (although that figure does not account for full earnings).
From 2013 to '15, Diaz made just four appearances, compiling a record of 2-2. In 2014, he publicly asked the UFC for a release. The promotion pulled Diaz from its official rankings, claiming he was refusing to accept bouts.
The situation is much different now, as Diaz's disclosed purse at UFC 196 was $500,000. UFC president Dana White told ESPN last week that Diaz actually made "millions" against McGregor. He said UFC 196 broke multiple company records from a business perspective and hit 1.5 million pay-per-view buys.
"I made a good amount of money," Diaz said. "I think they're overexaggerating how much -- I don't feel like anybody did me any favors, I'll tell you that much -- but I made a good chunk of change and I'm grateful. I've been demanding that.
"I was screwed for a long time. My problem was I was a soldier for a long time. I never even considered money, it was more about not getting my ass whooped. Once I thought about it for two minutes, I realized I was getting f---ed. It was stupid not to pay attention to that the whole time. If I had been thinking business since I was 21, I'd be a rich man right now."
Diaz, of Stockton, California, is in a good spot to land another big fight. He's officially on a two-fight win streak. The victory over McGregor, who is still the UFC's featherweight champion, came on just 11 days' notice.
He has been linked to potential welterweight matchups against champion Robbie Lawler or Georges St-Pierre, who is considering a comeback. The UFC could use him as a title contender at 155 pounds. And there is, of course, always a potential rematch against McGregor.
Diaz did not remove any option from the table, although he did say a lightweight title shot against Rafael dos Anjos, whom he lost to in December 2014, is likely the leading candidate. Diaz's older brother, Nick, is eligible to return from an 18-month drug suspension in August. Nick competes at welterweight.
"I'm thinking probably the lightweight title fight, whatever is biggest," Diaz said. "The biggest thing with Lawler and GSP -- I would have been all about those fights and I am, but at the same time, my brother [Nick] is coming back and those are his fights. Those are Nick Diaz fights. I'm not trying to step on his shoes. We'll see how things play out. As far as rematches go, I lost close decisions and never got a rematch.
"I'm not asking for anything. I'm demanding more than everybody. I want more than everybody, straight up. Money talks. I want the biggest fight. Whoever I've got to fight -- the biggest show, biggest payday -- that's what I want."