For the first time in a long time, Nate Diaz appears close to returning to the UFC.
According to multiple sources, the promotion has recently presented Diaz with multiple top-5 lightweight opponents for a fight this summer, and Diaz has expressed interest in returning at UFC 227 on Aug. 4 in Los Angeles.
Diaz, according to sources, wants to be on the card and is interested in at least one name presented to him, though, sources would not confirm who that is at this time.
One thing is clear, though: Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor haven’t been discussed as potential opponents, which leaves Eddie Alvarez, Dustin Poirier and Kevin Lee as options. Second-ranked Tony Ferguson is currently rehabbing his surgically-repaired knee and would not be ready to fight in August.
Alvarez and Diaz have a history dating back to when Alvarez beat Diaz’s friend and training partner Gilbert Melendez in Mexico City.
At this time, talks have been described as productive and ongoing, though, no deal is done. Money isn’t a stumbling block right now for Diaz, sources say, it’s just a matter of agreeing on an opponent he’s interested in.
“He’s not just looking for Conor,” Diaz’s long-time training partner Jake Shields said on Monday’s episode of “The MMA Hour.”
“He’s looking for a fight that makes sense and that’s going to give him a big payday and a lot of hype.”
News of the talks was first reported by ESPN.com.
Diaz, 33, hasn’t fought since August 2016 when he lost via majority decision to Conor McGregor. There had been brief talks of him fighting UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in December, but those talks never materialized
This appears to be the best shot fans have had in a while to see one of the sport’s most popular fighters return to action.