Nate Diaz hadn’t fought for nearly three years when he stepped into the Octagon to face former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis in a welterweight showdown. The fight served as the co-main event for UFC 241. Pettis had fought seven times since Diaz’s most recent fight. The former champion was 4-3 in those contests.
Diaz’s previous fight was a majority decision loss in August 2016 to Conor McGregor. The setback was a rematch. Diaz won the first meeting between the two, scoring a submission win over the former two-division champion in March 2016.
While Diaz calculated his next move, Pettis kept busy, but he had ups and downs. He dropped to featherweight in late August 2016 and won his first fight at 145 pounds with a submission win over Charles Oliveira. Pettis was ready to fight for the interim 145-pound title, but came in overweight for a contest that he would later lose to Max Holloway via a third-round TKO.
In July 2017, Pettis returned to lightweight and defeated Jim Miller by decision. He then went 1-2 before he decided to head to welterweight. In March 2019, Pettis knocked out former two-time welterweight title challenger Stephen Thompson with a knockout from behind. That victory prepared him for a battle with Diaz.
Pettis, who was No. 7 in the welterweight rankings at the time, was the lightweight favorite heading into the 170-pound contest.
Despite being the underdog and long time between fights, Diaz dominated the competition for nearly the full 15 minutes. Diaz hit 205 strikes in total to Pettis’ 86. When the scores were read, Diaz won 30-27 on two scorecards and 29-28 on the third.
Díaz lost his next fight, which was against Jorge Masvidal, due to a medical strike. Diaz hasn’t fought since that November 2019 setback. He returns to the Octagon on Saturday to face welterweight No. 3 Leon Edwards.
Before that fight takes place, watch Diaz defeat Pettis.
UFC 263 will take place on June 12 at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona. The main card airs on ESPN + pay-per-view after the preliminaries on ESPN and ESPN + and the first preliminaries on ESPN + and UFC Fight Pass.