Conor McGregor was offered to Anthony Pettis before Nate Diaz fight
Nate Diaz wasn't the first name floated Anthony Pettis' way for his next outing.
Pettis returned to welterweight for the first time in over a decade with a knockout victory over perennial contender Stephen Thompson in March and was rewarded with a place in the top ten in the 170lbs division's rankings.
The former UFC lightweight champion is clearly thriving without the need to cut to weight, having come up short in his first shot at the UFC's featherweight title.
Next up for Pettis will be one of the most popular fighters on the entire roster as he has been tasked with welcoming Nate Diaz back to the Octagon following his three-year absence.
It was announced last weekend that Pettis vs. Diaz will take place on August 17 at UFC 241 but, apparently, Diaz wasn't the UFC's first choice for 'Showtime.'
"There were some big names thrown my way. Conor McGregor was thrown my way from Dana in August but then that didn’t happen," Pettis said on Ariel Helwani's MMA show.
Nate Diaz is BACK! 👊
For the first time in three years, he returns to the octagon 🙌
🇺🇸 Pettis 🆚 Diaz 🇺🇸
📆 August 17th
📺 BT Sport
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) May 14, 2019
"So I just pulled back, hung out and was training and then Nate Diaz popped up. It’s perfect."
Pettis vs. Diaz has been years in the making as the pair's beef goes back to the days that Pettis was the top lightweight fighter in the world.
And while Pettis has never been the kind of man to express a desire to inflict physical pain on an opponent, he has a clear dislike for Diaz, who has not been seen since his majority decision defeat in his rematch with McGregor in August 2016.
"I just don’t like the guy," Pettis said of Diaz. "That’s just how it is, I am not that dude, but this is just one guy I do not like.
"I am going straight to work, I can’t wait to hurt this guy. This is a personal fight for me, I am going to work right away. No weight cut, simply training for a fight."