Nate Diaz vs. Jake Paul Boxing Match Just Took a Major Step Toward Reality

Nate Diaz

Getty Nate Diaz

Mixed martial arts icon Nate Diaz is officially a free agent and a potential boxing match with Jake Paul has now become much more of a reality.

“The MMA Hour” host Ariel Helwani broke the news on Tuesday that Diaz and the UFC had parted ways a few months after he completed the final bout on his contract. Diaz fought and defeated Tony Ferguson at UFC 279 on September 10.

The UFC had a three-month exclusive negotiation period, but the two parties split before it was set to expire on December 9, Helwani reported.

“Nathan Diaz’s UFC run has officially come to an end for now,” Helwani tweeted. “Diaz’s rep Zach Rosenfield confirmed Diaz is now a free agent. He would not go into detail regarding Diaz’s negotiations with the UFC since his fight with Ferguson, only to say that they were positive and friendly.”

Further, Rosenfield shared a statement with Helwani regarding a potential Octagon return for Diaz. “This does not shut the door on Diaz continuing to stay in the UFC,” Rosenfield said in the statement. “With the pending return of Conor McGregor, that fight still remains extremely appealing to both fans, the promotion, as well as Diaz and McGregor. But what is now clear is that the long-awaited Nate Diaz free agent sweepstakes have officially begun.”

Rosenfield also said Diaz hopes to fight two or three times in 2023, Helwani reported.

Paul Reacted to the News, Issued a Boxing Challenge to Diaz

Ever since it became public knowledge that Diaz was eyeing free agency, Diaz potentially boxing Paul has been on the MMA community’s radar.

And unsurprisingly, when Paul reacted to Diaz’s free-agency news, he issued a formal challenge to the former UFC superstar via Twitter.

“Hi Nate,” Paul tweeted. “Finally out of your UFC contract? Let’s see how tough you are in the boxing ring instead of hallway slap contests. @NateDiaz209 I have a venue booked. Offer is ready when you are. Just need you to sign.”

Diaz Said He Wanted to Try Out Other Arts After Taking Out Ferguson in September

Diaz was supposed to headline UFC 279 opposite Khamzat Chimaev; however, after Chimaev botched his weight cut by seven-and-a-half pounds, the UFC decided to slot Ferguson into the welterweight main event instead.

It was a battle of two MMA legends. And after the match made it into the fourth round, Diaz picked up his 12th submission victory by catching “El Cucuy” in a guillotine choke.

Diaz spoke with UFC color commentator Joe Rogan inside the Octagon after the official verdict was announced. Diaz made it clear that he fully intended on testing the waters of free agency, sharing his interest in trying out other arts like boxing. However, he did say that after he was done with that venture, he would “be right back here to get a motherf****** UFC title — the best title in the world.”

“All I know is it’s been a love-hate relationship with me and the UFC the whole time I’ve been in this f****** organization,” Diaz said. “But, at the end of the day I love the UFC.”

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