UFC lightweight Nate Diaz announced his comeback over social media last month. It’s looking like Diaz’s return to the UFC octagon could come a lot sooner than we had originally thought…
Nate Diaz is one of the very few legitimate stars in the UFC today. With the absence of Conor McGregor, the new WWE career of Ronda Rousey and the promotion’s overall lack of, well, promoting other fighters, Diaz finds himself in a favorable position.
It was only a couple of years ago that UFC president Dana White claimed Nate was ‘not a needle mover’ in terms of pay-per-views. It wasn’t until Diaz smoked the UFC’s biggest star on 12 days notice that the UFC’s ears would prick up.
Suddenly, Diaz was more than a needle mover, as UFC 196 smashed 1.5 million buys. Not too shabby considering the duo had less than a fortnight to get a media frenzy going.
So why has Diaz been out of action for 18 months since their UFC 202 rematch?
Much like older brother Nick has done in the past, Nate Diaz held out for quite some time before announcing his comeback. There are no updates on whether his contract has been improved, but potential opponent Eddie Alvarez said Diaz would be making ‘over 1 million dollars’ regardless.
According to respected journalist Lance Pugmire on Twitter, Diaz’s return could be a lot sooner than we thought. Diaz had stated he wanted to come back in June, but has now said he is interested in UFC 222 on March 3:
— Lance Pugmire (@pugboxing) February 4, 2018
After the announcement that Max Holloway was injured and out of his title defense against Frankie Edgar, UFC 222 was looking bleak. Then came the reports of TJ Dillashaw vs. Cody Garbrandt 2 for ‘The Viper’s’ bantamweight strap.
Unfortunately, Dillashaw claims the timing is just not right for that fight. If anything, Dillashaw’s comments on Twitter make a Nate Diaz return at UFC 222 all the more likely:
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) February 3, 2018
@Cody_Nolove Hey “smart” guy, through all your cussing and trash talk, wait till Kai is born and you get to hold him in your arms. Then see if you want to train for a fight on 4 weeks notice when your baby is a month old. #FAMILYFirst #HumbleYourself #URstillanidiot #KTFO
Judging by Dillashaw’s response to the reports, the UFC 222 rematch isn’t happening. If former lightweight Bellator/UFC champion Eddie Alvarez’s comments are anything to go by, he really wants to be Diaz’s return fight:
“You’re getting a bunch of fans excited who you’re just bullsh*tting. If you don’t want any work from any lightweight in the division, then just don’t say anything to any of the lightweights in the division and everything will be cool. But when you say things like that, you should be ready to at least fight somebody.”
“In Mexico, I got in his face after weigh-ins because he kept doing that sh*t he always does to everyone and nobody says sh*t to him,” Alvarez said. “I went right up to him, and when I went right up to him, he couldn’t even look me in the face.”
“He looked down at the ground. I’m like, this guy is supposed to be so f*cking hardcore, so gangster? He wouldn’t even look me in the face when I was confronting him about all of the mean mugs and all of that sh*t. He looks at the ground and then the UFC officials kinda jump in middle of me and him, and then squash the whole thing.
“I told him, after I beat Gilbert up, I said, ‘You’re f*cking next.’”