Volkanovski – Ortega and Shevchenko – Murphy booked for UFC 266

The UFC is planning a massive event for their September PPV. First we learned earlier today that the matchup between Nick Diaz (26-9, 2 NC) and Robbie Lawler (28-15, 1 NC) was finalized for UFC 266 on September 25th.

The rematch between the two legends will be a five-round, non-title, non-main event matchup. This is only the second time that the UFC has ever done this. Nate Diaz – Leon Edwards was the first matchup to get the non-main event five-round treatment.

Now, we have learned that the promotion is adding two title fights on top of it. Dana White confirmed with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto this evening that the promotion had finalized a featherweight title fight between Alexander Volkanovski (22-1) and top contender Brian Ortega (15-1, 1 NC).

Both men are fresh off of their coaching stints on The Ultimate Fighter and they are ready to battle it out. Originally, the two men were supposed to fight back in March. However, the UFC featherweight champion came down with COVID and the fight got pushed back.

The delay ended up being a blessing in disguise as the two men coached on TUF which created more intrigue around the matchup. While this featherweight title fight is exciting, it’s not the only title fight that’s heading to UFC 266.

UFC flyweight title on the line

White also told ESPN this evening that the flyweight queen, Valentina Shevchenko (21-3), will be defending her title against Lauren Murphy (15-4). The matchup will be the co-main event of UFC 266.

Murphy has won five fights in a row on her way to earning this shot at Shevchenko. She’s also one of the few flyweights in the top ten that hasn’t had a chance to fight Shevchenko. On September 25th, she will get her chance.

Lauren Murphy is going to be a massive betting underdog and for good reason. You can easily make the argument that skill-for-skill, Valentina Shevchenko is the best female fighter on the planet. Honestly, it is something truly special to watch her compete inside the octagon.

The only losses she has in the UFC have come against Amanda Nunes at 135 pounds. Granted, I still maintain that I thought Shevchenko won the last time they fought. At flyweight, Shevchenko is a perfect 7-0. During that stretch, she has four finishes and in her three decisions, she’s lost a grand total of two rounds.

UFC working on Nick Diaz – Robbie Lawler 2

Dana White broke some UFC news to TSN this afternoon. White told TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter that the promotion was working on finalizing the return of Nick Diaz (26-9, 2 NC). Per White, Diaz would be returning in September to rematch against Robbie Lawler (28-15, 1 NC).

The fight would co-headline a UFC event in September. Worth noting that the fight is not finalized yet and there is not a finalized date. However, we have known for some time that Nick Diaz was getting ready to return to the octagon and Lawler is the perfect opponent.

These two men first met back all the way at UFC 47 in 2004. Both men were extremely young and green at the time. Lawler was the betting favorite going into the fight, but that was the first time we really got to see the striking of Nick Diaz.

Diaz went on to knock Robbie Lawler out and shock everyone at UFC 47. Both men have since gone on to have incredible careers. Lawler rose all the way to the top of the sport by becoming the UFC welterweight champion.

That said, Ruthless is on a really tough stretch right now. After losing his title to Tyron Woodley back in 2016, Lawler has gone 1-4. The former champion has lost four-straight, but he will look to get back on track and avenge his UFC 47 loss in September.

UFC return for Nick Diaz

For years, Nick Diaz has teased a return to the UFC. We would see him training hard on social media and he would say that he wants to come back. However, a deal never got done and it’s been years since we’ve seen Diaz compete.

The last time Diaz stepped inside the octagon was UFC 183 in January of 2015. Prior to that, his last fight was March of 2013. Since 2012, Nick Diaz has only fought three times in the UFC.

Diaz is getting ready to turn 38 years old and he’s had years to let his body recover from all of his fights. Who knows, we might see the best Nick Diaz we’ve ever seen in September. Either way, the die-hards are going to be glued to their TVs to watch this rematch.

Jorge Masvidal teases UFC return: ‘Soon…’

One of the most popular fighters in the UFC could be getting ready to make his return. Jorge Masvidal (35-15) took to Twitter this afternoon where he was asked about his return to the octagon. Gamebred responded with a single word: Soon.

The last time we saw Masvidal was at UFC 261 when he had his welterweight title rematch with Kamaru Usman. Masvidal was knocked out in the second round by the champion. It was the first time in Masvidal’s UFC career that he was stopped by strikes.

It’s been an interesting stretch for the BMF. Masvidal’s last victory came at UFC 244 when he defeated Nate Diaz (20-13) for the UFC‘s BMF title. The one-off title belt was awarded to Masvidal after a doctor called a stop to the action due to a cut on Diaz.

After that victory, Masvidal was promised a title shot. However, negotiations didn’t go well at first and Masvidal’s shot was given to Gilbert Burns. Gilbert Burns was set to fight Kamaru Usman to headline the UFC‘s first PPV on Fight Island, but he tested positive for COVID.

The promotion went back to Masvidal on a week’s notice and Masvidal took the fight. Masvidal lost, but Usman gave him a rematch to show that it didn’t matter how long Masvidal had to prepare. Ultimately, the champion was right this time around and Masvidal came up short at UFC 261.

Who will Masvidal face in his UFC return?

There are a lot of great fights out there for the UFC’s BMF. His ultimate goal is to become welterweight champion, but it’s going to take another big winning streak to warrant another fight with Kamaru Usman.

Colby Covington is likely to get the next fight with the champion. With those two seemingly lined up, I think a matchup with Leon Edwards (19-3, 1 NC) would be great. There’s history there due to their backstage altercation back in 2019 and Edwards is at the top of the division.

A win over Leon Edwards would put Gamebred right back in title contention. Another possibility could be either Diaz brother. There’s history with Nate Diaz and at one point last year the UFC was looking at booking the BMF title rematch.

Nick Diaz (26-9, 2 NC) on the other hand is gearing up for his octagon return. The elder Diaz is wanting a big fight and he’s targeting a UFC return in September or October. That would seemingly line up with Masvidal’s tweet.

I don’t believe that a fight announcement is imminent, but I think we will start hearing more and more about Gamebred’s next move soon.

Sound Off: Who do you think Jorge Masvidal should fight when he returns to the octagon?

UFC getting closer to booking the return of Nick Diaz

Nick Diaz (26-9, 2 NC) is getting closer and closer to his UFC return. Back in April, Diaz met with Dana White to talk about his fighting future. Diaz was interested in returning to the octagon, but Dana White wasn’t convinced that Diaz would actually fight.

In the past, Diaz has mentioned that he was interested in returning to the UFC. However, a deal never materialized to make it happen. With that, White was cautious to believe that Diaz would actually step into an octagon in 2021.

However, the UFC president seems to be changing his turn. In speaking with UFC Arabia, White talked about the return of Nick Diaz. White not only thinks things are moving in the right direction, but he is certain Diaz will fight this year.

“You never hear me say that, ever,” White said. “You say, ‘Do you think Nick Diaz will fight this year?,’ and ‘absolutely, positively not’ is what I usually say. The matchmakers have (spoken to Diaz) and I don’t know where we’re at on it, but it’s looking promising,” White said.

Nick Diaz’s UFC Return

Assuming Nick Diaz makes his UFC return this year, the attention then turns to potential opponents. In my opinion, there are a couple of options that should be really attractive to the promotion.

One of the options is former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler (28-15, 1 NC). Like Nick Diaz, Lawler is up there in age. Lawler is 39 while Nick Diaz is 37 years old. The two of them fought extremely early in their UFC careers with Diaz getting the knockout win.

Their first fight came all the way back in 2004. Both men are extremely popular and it would be a fun fight for the long-time fans of both men. The other option for the UFC would be a much bigger fight, but it might be hard to put together.

That fight would be pairing Nick Diaz against Jorge Masvidal (35-15). Masvidal has history with Diaz’s younger brother Nate and he also has his own history with Nick. Long before Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz fought, the UFC tried to book Nick Diaz against Masvidal.

However, that fight never came together. If Nick Diaz wants to get right back in the mix, Jorge Masvidal is the way to do it. Either one of those fights would excite me as a fight fan and I would be willing to bet that it’s two matchups the UFC is looking at.

UFC: Jorge Masvidal says he ‘has to’ fight again in 2021; Interested in potential Nick Diaz matchup

This past Saturday at UFC 261, Jorge Masvidal (35-15) suffered his first knockout loss inside the octagon. The man who handed him that loss is also the man who has now beat Gamebred twice in a row, Kamaru Usman (19-1).

The knockout loss was the first time that someone has put Masvidal to sleep with strikes. We have seen Masvidal briefly floored before, but never has anyone completely shut the lights out. Kamaru Usman did just that at UFC 261.

Now, Masvidal is left wondering what’s next. Gamebred sat down with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani today to talk about the fight and what the future holds for him. Make no mistake about it, while he’s hurting emotionally, Gamebred isn’t going anywhere.

“I’ll definitely fight again this year. I have to…As it was, if it wasn’t for this suspension and this knockout, I would’ve been fighting three or four times this year. It’s something I wanted to do. If I can at least get one more fight this year, I’ll be happy.”

It’s clear that Masvidal is still going to be a factor in the UFC‘s welterweight division. He also told Helwani that he wants to wait to call out his opponent because he wants to call out someone realistic based on the welterweight landscape. Although, when asked about Nick Diaz (26-9, 2 NC), Gamebred said he would be down.

UFC Future for Masvidal

Nick Diaz was in attendance at UFC 261 and Dana White said after the fights that Diaz wanted to return to the octagon. In fact, they were meeting after the event was over. When Helwani asked about Diaz, Masvidal said he would definitely be interested.

“Definitely, Nick is a stud. (If) Nick wants to throw down, I’m more than willing to throw down. Like I said, I’m going to do it on my time. If Nick wants to fight near the end of this year, what can I say, I’m here. If you wanna do right by your brother, let’s go.”

After Masvidal defeated Nick’s younger brother Nate at UFC 244, Nick Diaz told Ariel Helwani that he wanted to get that fight back for his family. He wasn’t happy with the words Masvidal used following the win and he wanted to fight him.

Of course, at one point in the past, it looked like the UFC was putting that fight together. Dana White broke the news to reporters that the UFC was close to finalizing Nick Diaz – Jorge Masvidal at UFC 235 back in 2018.

Of course, the deal fell apart and the fight never happened. Gamebred went on to fight Darren Till and the rest is history. However, with Diaz setting up to return and Masvidal needing an opponent, perhaps the fight makes sense.

Time will tell, but I’d say that Nick Diaz is definitely in the running for Gamebred’s next fight.

UFC: Dana White meeting with Nick Diaz about his return

One of the most popular and polarizing figures in the UFC is gearing up for his return. Dana White said tonight that he is planning on meeting with Nick Diaz (26-9, 2 NC) tonight about his return to the octagon. Diaz posted a cryptic message on Twitter earlier today hinting at a return.

We have not seen Nick Diaz inside the UFC since 2015. In that fight, Diaz lost a decision to Anderson Silva. However, the fight was later turned to a No Contest after Silva failed his drug test. Nick Diaz has only fought twice since 2013.

Even with the inactivity from competition, Diaz has never stopped training. He is extremely active on social media and is always posting training footage. Even with that, we haven’t seen him back in the UFC since the Silva fight. Diaz’s management said that he wanted to return this year.

However, we haven’t seen any serious momentum until now. White said at the UFC 261 post-fight press conference that Diaz wants to fight and he’s asking for a fight. When someone like Nick Diaz says he wants to fight, he’s likely going to get a fight.

Who will the UFC pair him with?

It will be extremely interesting to see how the UFC decides to play this. If they are wanting to ease Diaz back into competition, I think a great fight would be with Robbie Lawler (28-15, 1 NC). Lawler is just 1-5 in his last six, but he’s still extremely popular.

These two fought way back at UFC 47 and Diaz won by knockout. The rematch of these two legends would be a ton of fun for fans. Another possibility could be against Jorge Masvidal (35-15). Masvidal just suffered a brutal knockout loss at UFC 261 at the hands of Kamaru Usman. 

Gamebred has history with the Diaz brothers and he was actually close to fighting Nick Diaz at one point. However, the fight fell through and Masvidal went on to fight Nate Diaz later on. After Masvidal’s loss, perhaps the UFC decides to have the two men fight. Would be a great opportunity for both.

There are a number of other fun options out there for Nick Diaz and the UFC. I’m just excited to hear that he’s going to be returning. This will definitely be a story to follow over the coming weeks.

Who should Nick Diaz fight in his UFC return?

This past week, we heard even more confirmation surrounding the potential UFC return of Nick Diaz (26-9, 2 NC). Diaz has been training hard and recently completed a mock training camp to see how he felt.

His manager said last week on his podcast that the likelihood that Diaz competes next year in the UFC is, “99.99%.” So by that measurement, the odds are pretty good that we are going to see Diaz return to the octagon next year.

Right now, the current plan for Diaz is to compete at welterweight. Diaz last competed in the UFC at middleweight when he fought Anderson Silva back in 2015. However, Diaz has spent the majority of his career at 170 pounds.

He became a world champion in Strikeforce in the welterweight division and fought for the UFC welterweight title twice. Before Nate Diaz’s fights with Conor McGregor, Nick Diaz was known as the needle mover in the family.

However, that has since changed with Nate becoming a star. Yet, there’s still a huge following for Nick Diaz and MMA fans are getting excited about his potential UFC return. So, who should Nick Diaz fight when he gets back into the cage?

Who should the UFC pair Nick Diaz with?

Diaz’s managers said that they were hoping to have an opponent nailed down by the first of the year. However, nothing is close to being finalized at the moment. It’s an interesting time for the UFC and their roster.

Last night, Dana White announced that the promotion would be making some serious cuts to their roster. He said some big names could go which could impact who the promotion would offer Nick Diaz upon his return.

For now, we will look at the current UFC roster and forget about the potential cuts. One matchup I really like is the rematch with Robbie Lawler. Lawler was supposed to fight Mike Perry recently, but had to pull out due to injury.

The plan is for Lawler to fight at the beginning of the year. I think a potential matchup between the two men makes a ton of sense. If you want to jump into the top ten, I think another option could be a Demian Maia.

Imagining those two grappling is a lot of fun. However, Maia would be a very good option if the UFC wants to get Diaz a win against a serious opponent right away. Maia isn’t a pushover, but if he can’t land takedowns, Diaz would light him up on the feet.

A win over Lawler or Maia would immediately re-establish Diaz in the welterweight division. I still would love to see the matchup between Diaz and Jorge Masvidal long-term, but I don’t see the UFC doing that without Diaz getting a win first.

UFC: Is Carlos Condit – Nick Diaz 2 the fight to make?

Carlos Condit

This past weekend at UFC Fight Island 4, former interim champion, Carlos Condit (31-13), got back in the win column after a five fight losing streak. The former champion hadn’t won since 2015, and his back was against the wall.

However, Condit came out with a dominant performance over former Ultimate Fighter winning, Court McGee (19-10). Condit dropped McGee in the first round and cruised to a decision. A massive UFC victory for the Natural Born Killer.

Earlier in the week, Condit expressed interest in fighting Nick Diaz (26-9, 2 NC) if he were to win on Saturday night. The two men have some history that dates back to UFC 143 which was almost nine years ago.

That night, Diaz and Condit fought to a decision for the UFC interim welterweight title. The decision was razor close, and a lot of people felt that Diaz won the fight. In the end, Condit walked away with the decision and the interim title.

Diaz recently announced that he was training and getting ready for a UFC comeback. There has not been any progressive talks between him and the UFC on who he would face upon his return in 2021. However, Condit is ready to throw his name into the mix.

Should the UFC book it?

When Diaz’s team announced that he would be returning, they said he had his eyes on some of the top fights in the division. One of those fights did not include what happened Saturday night between Condit and Court McGee.

Diaz looked to be more interested in the guys at the top of the division. However, a fight with Condit could be a good way for the UFC to reintroduce Diaz to competition. It’s a winnable fight for Diaz, and there is some name recognition there.

Not too mention the fact that Diaz could get his revenge in that matchup. We already know that Condit is down for the rematch. I’m not sure that Diaz would sign up for this, but if I’m the UFC, it’s worth offering out to both parties.

If Condit doesn’t get the fight against Diaz, I think the next reasonable fight to look at is the Robbie Lawler – Mike Perry fight taking place in November. Condit had a Fight of the Year with Lawler so that would make for an excellent rematch. A fight against Matt Brown could also be a possibility.

Could Colby Covington welcome Nick Diaz back to the UFC?

UFC, Colby Covington

Last Saturday night at UFC Vegas 11, Colby Covington (16-2) put on a clinic. He completely dominated Tyron Woodley for four rounds before an injury TKO called a stop to the action in the fifth and final round.

After the fight was over, Covington called out Jorge Masvidal and the UFC‘s welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman. Both of those guys have history with Covington. However, Covington did mention another name he’d be interested in on Saturday night.

Covington said that he would be interested in fighting Nick Diaz (26-9, 2 NC) in his next fight. There have been plenty of guys who have called out Nick Diaz since it was announced that he was planning his return to the UFC.

At first the callout caught me off guard, however, after thinking about it, the fight could make sense. Kamaru Usman is fighting Gilbert Burns. Jorge Masvidal is supposedly close to finalizing a fight with Nate Diaz. What other options are there in the UFC for Covington?

An interesting route for the UFC

“I would love to fight Nick,” Covington said in the post-fight press conference. “He’s a high-pressure fighter. I’d love to fight him and it would be an easy fight. I’d definitely retire him just like I retired Tyron Woodley. Nick Diaz would never fight again, I promise you, after I got done with him.”

Fans would have to admit that it’s a very intriguing matchup. When Diaz does return to the UFC, we have no idea what Nick Diaz we will see. The man hasn’t fought in the UFC since 2015. In his last fight, he lost a decision to Anderson Silva. The fight was overturned to a no contest after Silva tested positive.

When he was in his prime, Diaz was one of the best welterweights in the UFC. He would break opponents with his incredible pace and pressure. In a lot of ways, he fights like Covington but with a different base.

Covington tries to suffocate opponents with pressure, but he leans heavy on his wrestling. However, Diaz would pressure his opponents and just keep touching them with light punches before he’d rip them with heavy shots as his opponents would start to fade.

With the lack of options, this could definitely be a fight the UFC could make. Leon Edwards is sitting there, but I don’t think Covington or Diaz have interest in fighting him. Edwards might be best suited to fight Wonderboy Thompson.

We don’t know if the UFC will actually entertain this idea, but it’s definitely something to watch. I know that I’d tune it for it.

UFC: How about Conor McGregor and Nick Diaz?

Conor McGregor, UFC

The UFC world has been buzzing since the news broke that Nick Diaz (26-9, 2 NC) would be making his return. There have already been several fighters who have volunteered to welcome Diaz back including Leon Edwards.

Diaz is said to have just completed a test camp to get his body back to the welterweight limit. He looked good and felt really good after the camp. Now, he’s preparing for a UFC return in early 2021. So who should he fight?

Outside of the all the hands that have gone up, there is one name that nobody has mentioned yet that could be very interesting. The biggest star in the UFC and rival to Diaz’s younger brother Nate. How about Nick Diaz taking on The Notorious Conor McGregor (22-4)?

A new UFC rivalry?

As you can see from the above tweet, McGregor seemingly called Diaz out. However, this is not something new from the UFC‘s former two division champion. He often calls out many people on Twitter with no real intention on fighting them.

However, maybe this one with Nick Diaz could be different. Both men are in a very interesting spot in their career. Back in January at UFC 246, McGregor starched Donald Cerrone in the first round, but due to the pandemic, he hasn’t fought since.

After the win, McGregor really wanted a UFC title fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov. However, after Justin Gaethje became interim lightweight champion, Gaethje was given the shot. Despite retiring, McGregor has continued to tease that he’s wanted to fight.

We haven’t seen Nick Diaz inside the UFC in almost six years. The bad boy from Stockton has teased a comeback for many years, but nothing ever materialized with the UFC. He’s looking for a big fight in his return, and it doesn’t get much bigger.

The storyline is already there given McGregor’s rivalry with the Diaz camp. It would be an interesting matchup given the skillsets and there would be a ton of question marks around the way Diaz would look. I for one would be interested in tuning into that fight.