The sage swirling around Nate Diaz’s fight future continues to swirl, but maybe the latest shift in direction will sway him back into the Octagon.
UFC president Dana White on Tuesday confirmed that the promotion is working to put together a fight between Diaz and former UFC welterweight and middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre, and they’d like to do it in the lightweight division.
“We’ve been offering Nate fights for however long,” White said on the UFC Unfiltered podcast. “In his contract, and Nick Diaz, I have to give them three fights a year. Per the contract, I have to give them three fights a year. If I fail to give them three fights a year then I have to pay them. I have honored my contract with those guys.
“They keep turning down the fights, which extends their contract, but we are working right now to try to put together a Georges St-Pierre vs. Nate Diaz fight. It is true and they would fight at 155 pounds.”
While both fighters have shrugged at the idea of the fight in the past, it is the type of match-up that could lure them back to the cage.
Why Does Nate Diaz vs. Georges St-Pierre Make Sense?
Diaz has long focused on a trilogy fight with Conor McGregor, but more than just settling the score, it appears he’s looking for fights with big paydays attached. Fighting McGregor put Diaz in another stratosphere when it comes to his pay for stepping into the Octagon, and he doesn’t want to go back down to average fights.
“He’s not just looking for Conor,” Diaz’s teammate and longtime friend Jake Shields said on The MMA Hour recently. “He’s looking for a fight that makes sense and that’s going to give him a big payday and a lot of hype.”
Georges St-Pierre would definitely check both of those boxes.
St-Pierre finally returned to the Octagon last November following a four-year hiatus. He defeated Michael Bisping to capture the UFC middleweight championship, making him only the fourth fighter in UFC history to win belts in two divisions.
Citing health reasons, which he believes to be related to moving up in weight, St-Pierre almost immediately vacated the 185-pound title.
It was widely believed that St-Pierre, should he return to the Octagon, would be given a shot at regaining the welterweight title that he never lost. He vacated the belt in 2013. But according to White, it appears that a move to lightweight could be the next step for St-Pierre, a step that would see him move 30 pounds south of his latest trip to the Octagon.
St-Pierre has said on many occasions that he returned to add to his legacy, which winning the UFC middleweight title certainly did for him. But making a move to lightweight would be unprecedented, especially if he goes after the belt. He could have the opportunity to become the UFC’s first three-division champion.
Diaz is extremely popular, as is St-Pierre, so it would be a big fight in and of itself, but it could also serve as a testing ground to see if St-Pierre can handle the weight cut. If he could do so successfully and defeat Diaz, there are a couple of legacy bouts in the offering for St-Pierre at lightweight.
There is the potential to fight UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov for the belt and, of course, a showdown with Conor McGregor, which would make for the single biggest fight in the history of mixed martial arts.
Dana White Shooting for Blockbuster UFC 227 Fight Card
For now, however, White would settle for his “perfect world” scenario, and sign Diaz vs. GSP for UFC 227 in Los Angeles.
“I’m targeting L.A. In my perfect world — nothing goes perfect in this world — Dillashaw vs. Garbrandt, GSP vs. Diaz would be the co-main, Gustafsson vs. Rockhold, and Derek Brunson vs. Antonio Carlos Junior,” White said on UFC Unfiltered.
The fight between TJ Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt is already a done deal to headline UFC 227 and Brunson vs. Carlos Junior is set for the card, but Diaz vs. St-Pierre is a long way from a done deal, as is Gustafsson vs. Rockhold, although White also confirmed that they are trying to ink that fight.