Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Nate Diaz appears to be uninterested in a comeback at 155 pounds.
“[Nick Diaz Army] soldier 170 pounds,” Diaz wrote. “Come get you some of the real.”
NDA soldier 170 lbs
Come get you some of the real pic.twitter.com/d97Qqunr0I
— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) February 2, 2021
Diaz has emerged as a frontrunner opponent in the futures of several surging lightweights, among them Dustin Poirier, who knocked out Conor McGregor this past month at UFC 257. In a recent interview with ESPN, Poirier appeared open to rescheduling a bout against Diaz at welterweight after their first contest – booked at lightweight at UFC 230 – was cancelled when injuries intervened.
“Does it make sense in the lightweight division? No,” Poirier said. “Does it make sense standing in the door front of a title shot? No. But it’s a fun fight and this is entertainment and this is fighting.”
Diaz has also been touted as a logical follow-up for McGregor following the former two-division champ’s devastating loss at UFC 257. The two have fought twice at 170 pounds, splitting a pair of bouts in two of the biggest blockbusters in the promotion’s history. McGregor expressed equal interest in a trilogy with Diaz or Poirier.
“I think they’re both pretty big,” McGregor said. “Two southpaws as well, which is interesting. They’re both there, so we’ll see what happens.”
The marquee opponents don’t take into account countless others who’ve tried to lure the Stockton, Calif., native out of semi-retirement. From Warlley Alves to Khamzat Chimaev, Diaz’s popularity in name-dropping has only bolstered his reputation as a perpetual needle-mover in the business.
For opponents who hope to cash in, however, Diaz has one number in mind on the scale. As far back as 2010, the UFC vet expressed a desire to fight at 170 pounds after serving the bulk of his career in the lightweight division, where he was frequently met by wrestlers who had little desire other than to take him to the canvas.
After a disastrous stint as a UFC welterweight, Diaz returned to the lightweight division in 2011 and fought unsuccessfully for the title against then-champ Benson Henderson. In 2016, he seized on the moment when lightweight Rafael dos Anjos was forced to withdraw from a lightweight title shot against McGregor at UFC 196. On short notice, Diaz agreed to the fight at 170 pounds and shocked the world by handing McGregor his first octagon loss.
Since then, the only appearances Diaz has made in the octagon have been at welterweight. At UFC 244, he was ruled out of a “BMF” headliner with Jorge Masvidal due to doctor’s stoppage from cuts. He campaigned for a rematch and withdrew when one didn’t materialize.