It seems the UFC may have found a way to lure Nate Diaz back into the Octagon, and it involves pitching him straight into a welterweight title fight against Tyron Woodley at UFC 219 on December 30th in Las Vegas.
MMAfighting.com reporter Ariel Helwani confirmed today that the UFC have been attempting to put the fight together, though no deal is in place as yet and its believed that they do have other options.
There have been other clues that the fight is in the works as earlier this week Diaz’s strength and conditioning coach Jose Garcia posted that the fighter was back training for an upcoming bout.
“You fight fans be ready,” Garcia wrote on Twitter. “Diaz back to #asswhopping business .. fight camp we live.”
Garcia then quickly deleted the post, but coincidentally Diaz’s rumored opponent, Woodley has also suddenly started speaking of a blockbuster fight before the end of the year.
“Don’t be surprised if you see me in the next couple days announce a fight,” Woodley told FloCombat. “It’s a sport about risk and reward. It’s a sport about becoming a legend. You look at guys that have stepped up on last minute and it changed their lives. I don’t think that I should be any different.
“…At the end of the day, none of the people in my division right now are the fight that are going to get me to legendary status. Get me to the point where I’m a household name. I’m looking for that and I might have found that fight.”
On face value this fight makes no sense. Diaz hasn’t fought in over a year since losing by majority decision in a rematch with Conor McGregor at welterweight, and aside from his famous victory over ‘The Notorious’ early in 2016 he hasn’t fought at 170lbs since 2011 when he produced a 2-2 stint in the division.
Still, his two fights with McGregor proved to be massive sellers on pay-per-view and with the UFC struggling to find a suitable headliner for UFC 219 they now appear to be throwing out the rulebook, brushing aside the divisional rankings and are instead attempting to forge ahead with a fight that is more likely to draw a crowd to end the year on a high note.