Nate Diaz stuck in “frustrating” battle with UFC over fighting return

Nate Diaz’s teammate Jake Shields has opened up about the frustrating struggle that the UFC legend has had amid his year-long absence from the octagon.

Diaz has publicly been angling for a return to action after his loss to Leon Edwards last June, insisting that he is ready to compete. But despite an offer to fight Khamzat Chimaev and a possible short-notice meeting between he and Dustin Poirier, the Stockton fighter has been unable to secure a deal with the promotion.

The key sticking point is that Diaz has just one fight left on his UFC contract, and wants out of the deal. He has a big-money boxing match with Jake Paul waiting for him, but boss Dana White has publicly stated that he doesn’t like the UFC building stars for Paul’s Most Valuable Promotions to bring them over to the squared circle.

“The whole situation is getting weird and frustrating,” Shields told reporter Helen Yee. “I haven’t talked to Nate about it in a couple of weeks but I don’t think anything has really changed.

Nate Diaz wants to get back in the octagon
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“It seems to be the same pattern of Nate wanting to fight, them not offering anything. He always said he wants to fight top 10 because they offered him Khamzat Chimaev and he wasn’t sure until after the [Gilbert] Burns fight.

“He finally beat a ranked opponent and then they won’t offer him the fight after he asked for it. It is what it is, it’s the last fight of his contract and the UFC don’t want to let him out of his contract.”

Mirror Fighting sources had indicated as long ago as December that Diaz was Paul’s planned next opponent. Even before his vicious knockout win over Tyron Woodley, Paul had organised to have his teammate Anthony Taylor face Diaz’s pal Chris Avila on his undercard to assure that the welterweight star made an appearance at the event.

But he has been unable to seal a fight date since, and Paul is now set to face someone else on August 13 in his return to the ring. Diaz’s deal was automatically extended this year after no agreement was reached, but he wants out of the promotion win, lose or draw.

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“He said he would take the [Chimaev] fight after he fought Burns and they stopped offering it to him,” Shields continued. “Hopefully they’ll be able to come to some kind of terms and give him a fight because at some point they’re going to have to offer him the last fight on his contract or come to terms and re-sign him.”

Diaz was always a fan favourite during his lengthy career in the UFC, but only rose to prominence and earned the appropriate payouts when he took a short notice fight with Conor McGregor in 2016. He submitted the Irishman in that bout at the height of his popularity, rocketing to superstardom as a result.

And even though the former lightweight title challenger has gone 1-3 in the six years since that win over McGregor, he has remained one of the biggest stars in the sport. His brother Nick also has one fight left, but is considerably older and has less imminent offers outside of the octagon.

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