Fighting superstar Nate Diaz is ready to exit the UFC after he handles his business inside the Octagon next month, but with Dana White throwing out the chance of Diaz earning a title shot, the fighter could be tempted to stay with the promotion.
The UFC president recently spoke with MMA Underground about Diaz’s upcoming welterweight clash with Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 279 on September 10 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
And according to the UFC boss, a win could elevate Diaz to a title-contender position. Chimaev is ranked No. 3 at 170 pounds per the official UFC standings. So, should Diaz beat the favored combatant, he’ll land himself in the top five.
“I mean, obviously, if Nate beat Khamzat Chimaev, the No. 3 guy in the world, you’d have to look at Nate (receiving a UFC title shot), too,” White said via the outlet. “Everybody’s talking … like that it’s impossible for Nate Diaz to win this fight. Nothing is impossible in fighting. Everything is possible.
“Nate Diaz wanted this fight. It was either this fight or Francis Ngannou. This fight makes a lot more sense than Francis does. But, you know, for everybody to think that a veteran who’s as durable as Nate Diaz can’t win this fight is insane, so anything is possible. … You get out of the first two rounds and the fight gets interesting.”
Diaz Has Been Adamant That He Wants to Depart From the UFC
Diaz spoke with Ariel Helwani on “The MMA Hour” last month. And he was very clear that he wanted to leave the promotion and was prepared to try his hand at boxing and BJJ matches. Diaz has been with the UFC since 2007 and he told Helwani that even with the organization trying to throw more money at him, he wasn’t convinced to stay.
It’s unclear if a title fight would be enough to entice the popular fighter to remain on the roster.
Diaz has only competed once for UFC gold. He battled then-lightweight champion Benson Henderson in 2012 and lost via unanimous decision.
One-Time UFC Title Challenger Dan Hardy Called Chimaev vs. Diaz an ‘Assassination Attempt’
“I hope, desperately hope, that Nate at least comes through it alright, but after watching what Khamzat did to Rhys McKee and to John Phillips — yes, of course, Nate’s got good jiu-jitsu, but there comes a point where jiu-jitsu is nullified by good wrestling,” Hardy said via MMA Fighting. “It happened in the early days of the UFC, and it would happen against Nate if it hits the floor. I think he gets nullified and I think he gets beaten up horrendously from the top position. I think it’s going to be uncomfortable to watch, and I think it’s going to leave the UFC in a very, very bad light.
“I just hope Nate comes through it alright, because I think he’s got good opportunities outside the UFC. It’s just a shame that they’re going to do this assassination attempt on him before he leaves.”
At 37 years old, Diaz hasn’t earned a victory since his three-round unanimous decision over ex-UFC lightweight king Anthony Pettis in 2019. Chimaev is 11-0 as a professional mixed martial artist with his most recent win coming over former 170-pound title challenger Gilbert Burns in April.