One of the biggest stars in the UFC is begging to fight. That star is Stockton’s own Nathan Diaz (20-13) who has been sitting on the sidelines since June of last year while he waits for a fight from the UFC.
Diaz currently has one fight left on his current contract. As things currently stand, it doesn’t appear that Diaz is interested in resigning with the UFC. Diaz has been with the promotion since he was on The Ultimate Fighter back in 2007.
However, he’s been very vocal that he’s been annoyed with the way he’s been treated by the UFC as of late. To understand Diaz’s frustration, you have to understand how contracts work with the UFC.
The promotion is obligated to offer a fighter a certain number of fights a year. If a fighter is on the final fight of their contract, all the UFC has to do is formally offer a fight. If the fighter declines the fight that was offered, the contract is automatically extended to allow the promotion more time to offer a new opponent.
The UFC has essentially been giving Diaz an ultimatum for this final fight of his contract. Diaz has been very vocal about wanting to fight former interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier. Poirier has also said that’s the fight that he wants to make.
With both fighters wanting the fight, it seems pretty cut and dry that the fight should be made. Well, it’s not that easy. While Poirier would likely be favored in a matchup against Diaz, it’s a fight where Diaz does have a pretty clear path to victory.
The UFC doesn’t love the idea of giving Diaz a fight that would give him a win and raise his star power just to watch him walk out the door. As a result, they’ve formally offered him a fight against Khamzat Chimaev twice and the word is that Diaz declined.
It’s an awful stylistic matchup for Diaz and would lower his value entering free agency. I think the UFC is willing to give Diaz the Poirier fight, but only if they are allowed to extend him to keep him with the promotion for the rest of his career.
Thus, we have this standstill where nothing is happening. Diaz even posted a photo of himself pissing on the UFC PI because of these negotiations. Something has to give and one way or another Diaz needs to get back in the octagon. This is all about who is going to blink first.
My gut tells me that it will be Diaz. Either signing a longer contract or just agreeing to the Chimaev fight to get out of the promotion. No telling when this will happen, but we know Poirier wants to fight him on July 30th. That seems like a good time for Diaz to get back in the cage regardless.