Watch Conor McGregor fiercely refute Nate Diaz's steroid accusations

By Joe Callaghan

Maybe ten days will be more than enough.

Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz came together in the South Bay district of the City of Angels on Wednesday afternoon and got down to some unholy hard selling of next week's showdown between the pair.

The main event of UFC 196 in Las Vegas was to be a lightweight title bout involving McGregor and that division's champion Rafael Dos Anjos. Instead it will now be a welterweight fight against Diaz, the only thing apparently remaining unchanged, unmoved being the Notorious one.

But McGregor was far from static once sat opposite the veteran Diaz in the first press conference involving the pair.

The UFC's most marketable asset, desperate to keep up his blistering run of pay-per-view sales, would have been hoping to make things as interesting as possible in front of the TV cameras and a huge live internet audience. As it turned out, with Diaz on the other side of the lectern, McGregor's job had never been so easy.

It was fast and frenzied. But the Dubliner was immediately put on the defensive when Diaz, younger brother of fellow fighter Nick and with just as rich a history of run-ins with UFC brass, accused him of using steroids.

"Everybody is on steroids, the whole UFC, everybody. Dos Anjos. You, you're on steroids," said Diaz. It was a wild accusation, bang out of the blue, but in keeping with Diaz's track record for lobbing verbal grenades at his opponents. It hit its mark.

McGregor pointed to two former teammates of Diaz's - Gil Melendez and Jake Shields - who he said were banned for using steroids. The elder Diaz is also currently serving a lengthy ban from the sport after a positive test for marijuana last year.

"Your teammates, Gil and Jake, were two caught on steroids. What about them? Did you know about them?" railed McGregor. "Not me. What are you talking about? I'm not on no steroids."

McGregor had arrived over a half hour late for the media gathering and would later be heading across LA for an appearance on the Conan O'Brien show on Wednesday night. But there was still plenty of time for barbs.

"I like Nick's little brother. How can you not like him? He's like a little wannabe cholo gangster from the hood. He makes gun signs with the left hand and animal balloons with the right. He's a credit to the community. Nick is so proud of you," said McGregor, before reassuring the elder Diaz, in attendance, "It's okay, he's doing well up here [on stage]."

Diaz was a new presence on the opposite side of the stage but heralding in a different opponent at short notice is no alien feeling for McGregor. He was keen to not let the injured lightweight champion off lightly.

He took aim at Dos Anjos' broken foot and later other perceived body parts of the Brazilian and others - including Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar - who turned down the chance to step into the breach.

"I just thought, it's another day. They always run. I was expecting it," said the 27-year-old. "I looked at the picture [of the injury] and it was a bruise. I heard ice works wonders.

"I'm used to people pulling out of fights. They've all got sore vaginas. [Dos Anjos] broke his foot and his vagina in the same day.

"I'm prepared, I'm fit, I'm in shape. [Missing out on a shot at] the belt stung for a little bit. But really it doesn't matter because I should create my own belt, it doesn't matter, it's the McGregor belt, I'm fighting for the McGregor belt."

Saturday week at the MGM Grand Garden Arena will mark McGregor's professional bow at welterweight as he skips lightweight altogether. When asked about the motivations behind his jumping up the divisions, he unsurprisingly pointed to dollar signs.

"I just enjoy the conversations in the bank. The ladies in the bank treat me so nice. I just enjoy everything about this life. I'm motivated by movement and money and the movement of money," he said.

"The only weight I care about is the weight of my checks and they are always super heavyweight."

Diaz, whose most recent outing was a stirring unanimous victory in December, insisted the late notice, or the fight being locked in at welterweight, didn't affect him either for that matter.

"It doesn't matter. They asked me to fight, I came ready to fight, any weight class, it didn't matter. There was no hesitation on my part, I was ready to rock," he insisted before goading McGregor's record two divisions down at featherweight.

"F*** you and your belt. Why do you bring it everywhere. You fight midgets. You knockout three midgets in a row and you're all pumped up? You're fighting grown men now. They gave me a f***load of money and I said 'I want more of that shit'. They called me, I didn't ask. I'm just gonna kill or be killed. That's what I'm coming with."

McGregor insisted he was happy to finally get a chance to enter the cage opposite one of the Diaz brothers, firm favourites of seasoned UFC observers. However, having downed Jose Aldo in 13 seconds last time out, he predicted another brief encounter at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday week.

"I always enjoy Nick and Nate and their style of fighting. I always knew that somewhere down the line, I'd meet either one of them. I'm happy," said McGregor. "I feel like we have a similar will, but the will doesn't match the skill [with Nate]. That's going to be the difference. I respect him, don't get me wrong but business is business. He will be KO'd inside the first."

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