The veteran welterweight contender has no problem engaging in a war of words — or in some cases even fisticuffs — with opponents who try to get under his skin.
Ben Askren found that out the hard way earlier this year when Masvidal promised he would silence the former Bellator champion and what resulted as the fastest knockout in UFC history after a flying knee ended the fight just five seconds into the opening round.
Unlike that situation, Masvidal hasn’t been provoked by Diaz so he’s not going to go out of his way to insult the Stockton, Calif. native for a few extra headlines.
“Tons of respect [for Nate Diaz],” Masvidal said on “The Dan LeBatard Show”. “No allegations of steroids, dude comes to fight. He’s gotten out pointed in the past but his will has never been questioned. He’s never given up in a fight or taken a step back. So those types of fights, it’s like you feel alive.
“You wake up a little bit earlier, you go to sleep a little bit earlier, you eat what’s right because on the other side I have somebody that wants to take my soul. He wants to murder me. He wants to embarrass me and I’m not going to let that happen. Nobody is taking my lunch money. It makes you go through the suffering, the hell a little bit easier knowing that my opponent is that game that he’s going to come to get it just like I am. Those are the fun ones for me.”
Prior to landing the Diaz fight, Masvidal had also called out former two-division champion Conor McGregor but that matchup never went any further than his request to face the Irish superstar.
In reality, Masvidal believes he ended up with the tougher fight because while McGregor may have won a pair of UFC titles, he doesn’t believe that makes him better than Diaz.
“Conor’s gotten two belts, Nate hasn’t gotten a belt in the UFC but if we’re comparing them to each other, I thought Nate won both fights,” Masvidal said. “The first one was clear, he tapped him. The second one it was a decision, I thought he won it as well. I was there live as well, I thought Nate won the decision.”
Masvidal knows Diaz isn’t going to go away in five seconds, he’s not going to tap out and there’s a good chance it takes all five rounds in the UFC 244 main event to decide who will take home that ‘bad motherf—ker’ championship.
As much as the bad blood with opponents get him excited, a matchup against Diaz is the kind that really get his heart pounding.
“There’s some dudes the alarm goes off in the morning I’m like this guy’s not worth getting up early. There’s some guys that before that alarm goes off, I’m already awake. I’m turning off the alarm before it goes off and I’m getting after it. Nate is that guy,” Masvidal said.
“There’s a couple guys I faced in my career, Yves Edwards was another guy where I was like whoa this guy might end me. With [Darren] Till too, I was very motivated, very in good shape, my mind very focused. These guys are killers, I’m not getting killed. I’m going to be the killer.”