Who has the better hands, Conor McGregor or Nate Diaz? It’s a question that should get answered definitively on March 5, when the two fight at UFC 196. Until then, we’re going to have to rely on the biased opinions of the fighters and their respective teams. Nate Diaz’s long time boxing coach Richard Perez was on the latest episode of Submission Radio and shared his feelings on the subject.
“Even though it’s ten days notice or two weeks or whatever it is, he’s been training so we just pick it up a little higher of a notch,” Perez said. “Nathan’s better. When Nathan’s on his gameplan, he’ll make [Conor] look silly.”
He also elaborated on Nate Diaz’s strange declaration that everyone in the UFC is on steroids. A mere year ago, that might have been a debatable statement, but not so much any more thanks to random USADA testing in effect since the summer of 2015. But Perez still thinks McGregor is on steroids.
“I sure do believe that, heck yeah,” he told Submission Radio. “To be honest with you, I know McGregor has got to be on some kind of steroids. He’s pretty big, and then all of a sudden jumping to 170? Yeah there’s no way. Because I mean he was supposed to be fighting at 155. So if you think about it, he was focusing on training at 155. He only had two weeks to go. And all of a sudden he’s gonna jump to 170? So no, there’s something going on.”
That’s some pretty wacky thinking, and perhaps Perez is smoking some of the same stuff that has landed Nate’s brother Nick in so much trouble over the years. McGregor was always a huge featherweight, to the point where many questioned if he’d be able to keep making the brutal cut down to 145. At the weigh-in for the Mendez fight in July, McGregor looked like someone rescued off a deserted island, and it was rumored he cut more than 30 pounds leading up to the fight.
That puts his walking around weight at 175 pounds, and that was before he started gaining weight for lightweight. The last second switch to welterweight was to shut down more financial demands and get Diaz to sign on the dotted line. For McGregor, it doesn’t mean anything more than an easier cut, which gives him less to worry about leading up to the fight and more energy once the cage door closes.
Another fighter who also jumped from 155 to 170 on pretty short notice: Nate Diaz. In January of 2010, Nate fought Gray Maynard at lightweight. Two months later, he was back in the cage for a welterweight stint that would last nearly two years. Was there anything unusual about that other than Nate’s unwillingness to keep cutting down to his proper weightclass? Nope.