Search icon


22nd Dec 2016

Nate Diaz thrust into UFC lightweight title picture but his demands are huge

Wants his dues.

Patrick McCarry

Conor McGregor is a little over a month into his break from the UFC and the situation in his two divisions has boiled over.

First up, ‘The Notorious’ was stripped of his featherweight belt in order for José Aldo to be elevated to outright champion. Max Holloway won an interim belt at UFC 206 and is supposed to fight Aldo next but the Brazilian is now angling for a jump to lightweight.

Meanwhile, up at 155lbs, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson are supposed to be fighting for a No.1 contender slot but they have been bickering across various social media platforms. Aldo’s name being thrown into the mix has not helped.

It emerged, late on Wednesday night, that Nate Diaz was being lined up to fight Nurmagomedov for an interim lightweight title.

All the while, McGregor has scoffed at UFC president Dana White for suggesting the champion will be out of the fight game for 10 months.

MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani reached out to Diaz last night to discover the Californian is only interested in a lightweight fight if the opponent is a fighter he respects and if he gets a good chunk of change. He declared:

“I’m only fighting at lightweight for a big fight or $20 million just to take the call. Until then, I’m just living my life.”

Diaz has applied for boxing licences in Nevada and California and has claimed the UFC do not want him around.

Asked about closing out a potential trilogy fight, Diaz, who John Kavanagh believes McGregor should fight next, said:

“I already beat him, and they aren’t paying enough to fight him again.”

We have seen the UFC pressure fighters into signing bout agreements by raising the possibilities of other men, such as Diaz or Aldo, stepping in to take a fight. Eddie Alvarez got squeezed by this tactic before UFC 205 – signing to fight McGregor once Nurmagomedov had signed a bout agreement to do likewise.

At present, Nurmagomedov is holding out for the fight that makes the most sense – Tony Ferguson at UFC 209 in March.