There might not be another fighter in the UFC who wants to fight more than Nate Diaz (20-13). Diaz has been asking for fights and he wanted to get back in the octagon as soon as this month. Last month, he called for a fight with Dustin Poirier (28-7, 1 NC).
Poirier recently revealed that the UFC was trying to put together a fight with him and Diaz sooner than later. In fact, it appeared that there was some momentum in the fight getting booked for UFC 272 in February. However, all that momentum has hit a screeching halt.
So, what is the issue? Well the issue lies on the Diaz side of things. There is one big roadblock for the promotion in booking this fight and that is the status of Diaz’s contract. Currently, Diaz only has one fight left on his current deal and that is giving pause to the UFC.
The UFC’s Plan
Nate Diaz is a massive star for the UFC. The UFC doesn’t like their massive stars testing free agency. There’s a reason why the promotion has rarely let big time talent walk over the years. Most of the time, the best fighters who the promotion wants, never touch free agency.
Why is that? Well, the UFC will hold up on booking the final fight of their contract and try to negotiate an extension. Most of the time, the promotion is able to secure an extension and fights get booked. However, things haven’t been as smooth so far with Nate Diaz.
Ariel Helwani shed some light on this last week. Let’s be clear, Nate Diaz wants to fight. He wants to fight the best there is to fight. The UFC wants to keep Diaz around and for that reason, they are holding him up until they can secure him for additional fights.
It’s like a game of chicken. Diaz just wants the UFC to give him a fight while the UFC wants Diaz to sign an extension. It will all come down to who blinks first. One thing that’s for sure, if the promotion blinks, don’t expect Diaz to fight someone with a big name.
The last thing the UFC wants is for Diaz to have a fight that makes him a bigger star just to see him test free agency. Diaz will only get a big fight if he agrees to additional fights. Negotiations are still ongoing but hopefully we should hear something soon.