Diaz, who hasn’t fought since November 2019, told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani that he wants to fight at least twice in 2021 and hopes to return to the UFC’s Octagon in a few months.
He listed two names as possible opponents, No. 1 ranked lightweight Dustin Poirier and No. 3 Charles Oliveira. Diaz said he doesn’t want to compete at 155 pounds, however, eyeing a welterweight or catchweight bout against either of the two fighters.
After the interview was released on Tuesday, Oliveira’s head coach Diego Lima shot down Diaz’s challenge, saying that “Du Bronx’s” goal is to win the lightweight title. He sent a statement to AG Fight and it reads:
To be honest, it is a struggle that theoretically makes no sense to us. Nate is not active, much less ranked. It is a fight that would only happen for financial reasons. But even so, I don’t think it would be beneficial at this point. We know that McGregor sells a lot. Really who he faces bomb. Nate is not at that level. Our goal is the belt. Even if it is very financially worthwhile, today I do not see this struggle adding to Charles’ career. The goal is only one, the lightweight title.
On Thursday, Oliveira confirmed via Twitter that he isn’t interested in fighting Diaz right now. He posted:
Oliveira is riding an eight-fight win streak and is coming off the biggest win of his career, defeating Tony Ferguson in December.
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Poirier Has Shown Interest in Fighting Diaz, Reacted to Diaz’s Interview on Tuesday
Poirier is fresh off his second-round TKO victory over Conor McGregor at UFC 257 on January 23. After the fight, “The Diamond” said that he would be interested in taking on Diaz, a fight that was supposed to happen a couple of years ago. The two fighters were set to co-main event UFC 230 in 2018, however Poirier pulled out with an injury.
After ESPN shared Diaz’s interview with Helwani on Tuesday, Poirier took to Twitter to say that he would be willing to meet Diaz at welterweight. He wrote, “A fight closer to my natural weight sounds like a great idea.”
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Diaz Hasn’t Fought at Lightweight Since His Win Over Michael Johnson, Is 3-2 in His Last 5 Fights
It’s been over five years since Diaz competed at 155 pounds. After defeating Michael Johnson in December 2015, he made his return to welterweight where he has remained since.
In 2016, he stepped in on short notice to fight Conor McGregor at 170 pounds, winning by second-round submission. Then they rematched, and Diaz lost the all-time war by majority decision. After three years away from the sport, Diaz returned and beat Anthony Pettis.
In his most recent fight, Diaz lost to Jorge Masvidal by doctor’s stoppage in November 2019.