The former lightweight title contender, 37, has been locked into a deal with the promotion for the past year despite vocally wanting out, as they hold the rights to his next fight. He has been linked with Khamzat Chimaev, Dustin Poirier and Vicente Luque over the past seven months, but none of the bouts have come to fruition.
He was being eyed up as the target for Jake Paul’s next opponent when the YouTube star decided to take a lengthy break back in December. But the UFC don’t want him to leave on a big name win, only to be fed to Paul for a major rival event on pay-per-view.
So Diaz has been tied into his deal and kept out of action at the peak of his earning potential for the past year, since his fight with Leon Edwards. Despite losing three of his four bouts since his star-making win over Conor McGregor six years ago, the California native remains a massive fan favourite and sells major numbers on PPV.
“July 30, would be a nice to departure date,” Diaz wrote in a cryptic tweet, indicating that he wants out of the UFC by the end of this month. The promotion have a pay-per-view scheduled that night to be headlined by Amanda Nunes and Julianna Pena’s bantamweight title rematch, but the card appears to be full.
However, there is also a Showtime boxing event that evening between Danny Garcia and Jose Benavidez Jr at the Barclays Center, as well as an influencer pay-per-view headlined by Austin McBroom and AnEsonGib in Los Angeles. And if the UFC want to break ahead of the pack, they could add Diaz to the main card in a short-notice fight to help pump up their numbers.
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It remains to be seen who Diaz will face next, with Poirier now seemingly off the table and Khamzat Chimaev a top contender, miles above him in the rankings. Jake Paul has said that he would fight him in the UFC for free if the promotion agreed to increase their base pay for fighters starting out from $12,000 to $50,000.
“I’ll be Nate Diaz’s last fight in the UFC,” he told ESPN this week. “I’ll throw on the MMA gloves and fight him for free as long as Dana White increases the minimum fighter pay to $50k and gives them healthcare benefits. That was my deal, I think the Nate Diaz fight should happen, and if it doesn’t happen with that offer, it’ll probably happen one day in a boxing ring. It makes a ton of sense, the UFC has been dead this whole year.
“I get why fighters are trying to leave, boxing is s****ing on MMA this year. You haven’t heard of any UFC fights and they’ve all be boring so I get why Nate is trying to get out, he’s trying to come and face the money man which is me. It makes sense and I guess Dana White agrees.”