NATE DIAZ “would be ready” for a trilogy bout with arch rival Conor McGregor this year, claims his trainer.
Diaz, 33, and McGregor, 30, hold one of the greatest UFC rivalries of all time – with the duo tied at one apiece.
But a the third instalment has eluded fans, with McGregor going on to become a two-weight UFC champion mixed in with a boxing cameo against Floyd Mayweather – leaving Diaz in limbo, having not fought since their 2016 rematch.
But Richard Perez, boxing coach of Diaz, told SunSport his man would not need a tune up fight and would take on McGregor this year – if he was given the opportunity by UFC president Dana White.
Perez said: “Conor wants the third one, and so does Nathan, but I don’t know what’s going on with Dana White – it’s his choice.
“Nathan would fight him right now, he still trains and even though he’s been off a while McGregor has only had one fight before he had the (Khabib Nurmagomedov fight) and then he got beat.
“It’s no big deal, we’ll be ready. This is nothing new, there’s been many times (the UFC) have called for a fight, and we’re always prepared.
“Nate’s a professional, he knows what he’s doing. We’ve talked about the trilogy, but it’s just not happened yet.
“He wants to return, but Dana White has the control, it’s not Nathan, he wants to fight.
“He’s ready, but when somebody has control over who fights then there’s nothing he can do about it.”
Diaz shocked the MMA world when he replaced Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 196 on 11 days notice and handed McGregor his first octagon defeat with a second round submission.
McGregor would go onto gain revenge five months later, outpointing his rival at UFC 202 in the 2017 Fight of The Year.
Though a trilogy was promised by McGregor, and looked inevitable, Perez revealed Diaz will only complete the hat-trick of fights if he is “getting paid what he’s worth”.
Perez said: “He wants to get paid like everybody else, and that’s what he’s looking at – if Dana White says you’re fighting McGregor, for $1million, no. That’s a joke.
“I’m not saying that’s going to happen, but for Nathan he needs to be getting paid what he’s worth.
“If they’re going to offer you something, and then they try and lower it, no, that’s not happening.
“You either give more, or the same, and it has to be more, especially in this kind of fighting.
“This is brutal fighting, and Nate should be getting way more than this, because he’s on top and people pay to watch him.
“He’s a fighter, he’s entertaining, he’ll go out and do it. He’s better than McGregor, when he was at 145lb, he was fighting little guys, knocking them out, Nathan will fight big guys and still win.
“No one really knows what’s going on, (Dana White) makes Nathan look bad but it’s not true.
“Nathan wants to fight, but for some reason, and I don’t know what it is Dana says he doesn’t want to fight. He’s not telling the truth.
“I don’t know why Dana White is pushing him to the side right now.”