Nate Diaz’s attempt to sneak in through the backdoor of the welterweight division was quickly sniffed out by UFC President Dana White.
For months, Diaz has been the disgruntled star watching from afar, upset with the UFC over contractual issues. Things even escalated to the point where Diaz asked to be released from the promotion back in February.
Diaz’s ongoing issues with the UFC stem from White’s refusal to restructure his contract. Despite a 1-2 record in his last three fights, Diaz felt like his track record for putting on great fights was more than enough to warrant a bigger paycheck.
Unfortunately for the controversial lightweight star, a new deal never panned out with the UFC, and he has been sitting on the sidelines ever since his first round TKO win over Gray Maynard back in November 2013.
During Wednesday’s episode of UFC Tonight, MMA journalist Ariel Helwani reported that Diaz is finally ready to come back to work.
There’s a catch, though.
Diaz isn’t looking to fight another run-of-the-mill lightweight contender. Instead, the polarizing fighter is seeking a bout at 170-pounds with red-hot welterweight contender Matt Brown.
“I want the Matt Brown fight,” said Diaz, according to Helwani. “That's what I'm looking for. I'm trying to fight the baddest motherf------s out there. I'm not trying to fight some lame a-- fighter that they're trying to build off of me.”
White quickly addressed Diaz’s callout during an appearance later on the show.
“There's no way in the world,” said White, per MMAFighting.com. “That fight has not been talked about. It's not even close. We never even considered that fight.”
While Diaz is still trying to regain traction at lightweight, Brown has emerged as a legitimate contender in the welterweight division. In the main event of UFC Fight Night 40, he extended his win streak to seven with a third round TKO victory over Erick Silva in a fight that is already garnering “Fight of the Year” praise.
A bout against Diaz would definitely make for an entertaining scrap, but a win over a lightweight wouldn’t do much to improve Brown’s position in the title picture.
“Nate Diaz did say he was interested in that fight, but that fight doesn’t make sense. He’s fighting at ‘55. He’s lost two of his last three fights, and Brown is on this unbelievable roll,” said White. “Brown is a welterweight and has been fighting there for a long time, and is deserved a top contender. Listen, if Nick Diaz wants to come out and fight Brown, I’ll do that fight.”
Nate’s older brother, Nick, retired from MMA a little over a year ago after losing to former UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre.
When speaking with MMAFighting.com, he explained that his return hinged on the UFC’s willingness to honor one of two requests: a title shot against Johny Hendricks, or a $500,000 payout for agreeing to fight a top welterweight contender.
At the UFC Fight Night 40 post-fight media scrum, White stood his ground and admitted that the UFC was willing to move on with or without the Diaz brothers.
Would a potential showdown with Brown be enough to finally draw Nick Diaz out from the shadows?
Jordy McElroy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA writer for Rocktagon.