Nate Diaz would love to get out of his current contract and into the ring with Jake Paul.
The good news is that his employer is willing to accommodate his request.
The outspoken Diaz has been vocal in his displeasure with the UFC, under whose banner he has fought since 2007. However, it has been more than a year since the 37-year-oid has been in the cage and is eager to fight in any capacity. That mission includes a potential showdown with Paul (5-0, 4KOs), the content creator and cruiserweight novice who is still without a named opponent for an August 6 Showtime Pay-Per-View headliner at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
“UFC release [me] now please or give me fight with anyone in July or [A]ugust,” Diaz tweeted late Monday evening. “I have bigger sh!t to do.”
The tweet was accompanied by a clip of Paul’s last fight, a highlight-reel sixth-round knockout of Tyron Woodley in their rematch last December 18. Diaz was among those in attendance at the sold-out AMALIE Arena in Tampa, mainly to support his stablemate Chris Avila who beat Anthony Taylor—part of Team Paul—on the undercard but also enough of a fight week participant to antagonize the Paul camp.
At the time, Diaz was more than six months removed from his five-round loss to Leon Edwards as part of UFC 263 last June 12 in Glendale, Arizona. Diaz still hasn’t fought and—by his company’s own admission—is no longer a priority to the point where he can explore other options.
“I like Nate. But let’s be honest—Nate’s won one fight in the last five or six years,” UFC president Dana White told TheMacLife podcast. “You’ve got guys that have been with us for a long time, that we respect, that we care about. You know, you’ve got [Donald ‘Cowboy] Cerrone and Anthony Pettis before he left, and you’ve got Nate Diaz and Nick Diaz (Nate’s brother) is still under contract with us. So, you want to be fair to everybody, you want to do the right things or whatever. Nate Diaz isn’t going to come in and fight [UFC welterweight champion] Kamaru Usman.
“So listen, we’re trying to do the best we can. We’re trying not to shit on anybody and disrespect anybody, but it’s not like we’re talking about Kamaru Usman here. We’re talking about Nate Diaz. Nate’s won one fight in five years, so we’re trying to figure this thing out with him. He probably should go on and fight Jake Paul. That’s a fight that makes sense.”
Such a fight isn’t guaranteed, as it’s possible that an opponent is already lined up but just not yet announced. That day is expected soon, as a forthcoming New York City press conference will feature Paul and unified WBC/WBO/IBO featherweight champion Amanda Serrano (42-2-1, 30KOs), who is also without a named opponent for her co-main event on the Showtime PPV card.
If there is still a shot at landing the fight, Diaz has just one last request to at least give himself a chance.
“Send the release,” Diaz demanded of the UFC.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox