UFC Hall Of Famer Pat Miletich is convinced Nate Diaz will once again best Conor McGregor in the pair's rematch at UFC 202 on Saturday week.
Miletich, now a keen endurance runner at the age of 48, maintains that the Diaz brothers' participation in triathlons and similar events will stand Nate in better stead than his Irish opponent when McGregor attempts to avenge his submission defeat in two weekends' time.
Speaking to Submission Radio, Miletich - who was the UFC's first ever welterweight champion - said MMA is "not that tough" when compared to the fitness required to partake in long-distance running events:
I think Conor’s going to come in very motivated — bigger and stronger — but he’s not going to be able to hurt Nate.
Look, I’m training for a 100-mile run in two-miles altitude. The Diaz brothers do stuff like that on a regular basis. You cannot get them tired, you cannot hurt them. What can Conor McGregor do to Nate Diaz that doing a 50-mile or 75-mile run can’t do to him?
There’s something different that happens mentally and I’m learning that now. Training for a fight and getting in a cage is honestly — now when I look back on things — kind of a joke.
Miletich explained how, in terms of mental taxation, fighting - or fight prep - pales in significance when compared with triathlons and physical challenges of their ilk:
The mind games that you play with yourself when you go to war with yourself when you’re running for 24 hours straight, and the demons that you deal with out on a country road in the middle of nowhere while you’re running in 95-degree heat with 95% humidity, when you’ve already been running for 60 miles and you know you’ve got 20/30/40 more to go… out-smarting another human being, intimidating them and beating their ass is really not that tough.
I can tell you that right now. Had I been doing this stuff during my [fighting] career, fighting would have been so much easier.
I was running three miles in 16 minutes when I was in my prime. I could fly. But running 50 miles and up, there’s something different that happens to you mentally. Physically, of course there’s massive amounts of abuse, but mentally you become a different person. You become a different animal and there’s no amount of pain that you can’t withstand.
The former champion remains adamant that McGregor won't land any debilitating shots on Diaz, and maintains that the Dubliner is simply too small to compete in his old division:
He’s going to get his ass beat by Nate again. Even if he were to get lucky and beat Nate, some of the guys at 170 are cutting down from 210/215lbs. You’re talking skull fractures from punches from guys like that. The 170-pounders who walk around at 200/200-plus could punch a heavyweight, break his jaw and knock him out. These are explosive, very strong guys and if Conor McGregor even remotely attempts to take them down, he’s going to get shut down. And if he gets hit with a three-punch combo, he’s going to the hospital.
Miletich does, however, enjoy The Notorious' antics - and admits that contrary to his fight prediction, he's actually a huge fan of McGregor:
I’ll tell you what, though - I will say this: Conor McGregor has sold the sport, he’s sold himself, I think he’s brought some of the Chael Sonnen/WWE from Ireland into it, which is great, and more power to him. I love the guy actually.
You can listen to Miletich's full interview with Submission Radio here: