Nate Diaz is serious about returning to the UFC this year and he likes the idea of fighting welterweight champion Tyron Woodley for his first fight back.
It’s been more than a year since Diaz last competed, when he lost a majority decision to Conor McGregor in their rematch at UFC 202 in August 2016. Since that time, Diaz has been offered several opponents, including Tony Ferguson and Eddie Alvarez, but nothing interested him enough to actually step back into the UFC Octagon.
Just recently, Diaz put out a message saying that he was ready to return in May or June and it seems he was deadly serious about finally booking a new fight in the UFC. Now it appears Diaz has found his opponent, as he hopes to face Woodley later this year.
Nate Diaz is ‘Sick of Not Fighting’
“I’m getting to the point where I’m sick of not fighting. I’m not getting any younger. I put that tweet out saying I wanted to fight in May or June, but I didn’t say who because I was weighing my options. And now, Woodley is my best option,” Diaz said when speaking to ESPN.
“I see him on TMZ every week, talking about me. I’m like, ‘What the f—? If that’s what you want to do.’ It’s not really my weight class, but I’m with it. I think it’s my title we’re fighting for. If he’s the one calling me out, whose title are we fighting for? Who’s the real champion here?”
Woodley said earlier this week that he anticipated that Diaz would be his next opponent with hopes of clashing in July.
Diaz is definitely on board with that idea after first being teased with a fight against Woodley last year when he was approached about possibly headlining UFC 219 to close out 2017. The fight never came together, but Woodley still wanted to pursue the match-up and now Diaz is ready to make it happen as well.
“They called me out of nowhere, when I wasn’t trying to fight nobody. They asked if I would fight Woodley and I said, ‘Well, I’d like a three-month camp,'” Diaz explained. “I told them I’d fight him on shorter notice, but would send them what I wanted in the contract. It was nothing out of the norm. My boxing coach said something about $15 million in an interview, but that was never the number.
“Then I saw in the media, the UFC said they never approached me about it. I was like, ‘F— it then. I wasn’t the one asking for the fight.'”
Diaz and Woodley Targeting UFC 226 in July
Diaz seems more than happy to ink a deal to fight Woodley now and facing off on July 7 at UFC 226 sounds like a good enough date to him. UFC 226 will also feature the superfight pitting heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic against light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier.
With Woodley and Diaz both asking for the fight, it now comes down to the UFC actually booking the match-up. In recent months, UFC president Dana White has insisted that former champion Rafael dos Anjos is next in line to fight Woodley for the welterweight title, but there’s no doubt that Diaz’s return would get more attention.
Now it’s just a waiting game to see what happens, as Diaz looks to return and Woodley hopes to welcome him back to the Octagon.