Sit down and get ready to hear some shocking news: Nate Diaz is not happy with the UFC.
OK, maybe that isn’t very shocking. Maybe it’s been the intermittent status quo for months if not years, and Diaz is once again pushing for the UFC to either give him the fight he wants or let him find that fight for himself.
Diaz kicked off his latest public dispute with the promotion on Monday when he tweeted a public demand to be either given a fight in July or August or to release him from his contract. Notably, he attached a video of Jake Paul knocking out former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, the likely subject of his “s*** to do.”
Diaz currently has one fight remaining on his contract, per ESPN, and turned down an offer to face rising star Khamzat Chimaev, instead expressing interest in one of Dustin Poirier, Vicente Luque and Tony Ferguson. He lost his most recent fight to Leon Edwards by unanimous decision at UFC 263 earlier this month.
A day later, UFC president Dana White discussed Diaz’s latest request in an interview with The Mac Life and wasn’t exactly laudatory about Diaz’s merits as a fighter at this point in his career. He even suggested Diaz go ahead and book the Jake Paul fight:
“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to look at it and see lots of game-playing and whatever. Contractually, we got to get him a fight, we’ll get him a fight.
“I like Nate. Let’s be honest, Nate has won one fight in the last five or six years. When these guys get into these positions, you’ve got guys that have been with us for a long time, that we respect, that care about. You’ve got the [Donald] Cerrones and Anthony Pettis before he left and you’ve got Nate Diaz and Nick Diaz is still under contract.
“You want to be fair and do the right thing, whatever. Nate Diaz isn’t going to come in and fight Kamaru Usman. We’re trying to do the best we can, trying not to s*** on anybody and disrespect anybody, but it’s not like we’re talking about Kamaru Usman here. We’re talking about Nate Diaz. Nate has won one fight in five years. We’re trying to figure this out thing thing out with him. He probably should go on and fight Jake Paul. That’s a fight that makes sense.”
White is correct that Diaz has won one fight — Anthony Pettis at UFC 241 in 2019 — since his career-making win over Conor McGregor in 2016.
Diaz was apparently listening to White, as he tweeted a request that UFC send a release hours later. He then included two emojis: a blond man that may or may not resemble Paul and a boxing glove.
Send the release 📄
— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) June 21, 2022
It may be worth pointing out that Paul recently announced his next fight will take place on Aug. 6, but with no opponent confirmed. There has been plenty of speculation about who will step into the ring with Paul, and Diaz, as an aging MMA fighter, would fit the influencer’s recent trends.
Paul even tweeted his own statement to White, saying he would happy to face Diaz in the Octagon and would even fight for free, as long as White increases fighter pay and pay for their healthcare (White isn’t going to do this).
Dana – I’m happy to be Nate’s last fight in UFC. You know the terms: pay fighters more and give them healthcare.
Sweetener: I will fight for free. https://t.co/fhj6Ig9bS2
— Jake Paul (@jakepaul) June 21, 2022
There are obviously plenty of moving parts to this. Every side seems to agree Diaz wants and should get a fight, be it against Paul or within the UFC’s confines, but it’s a little more complicated than that.