Could Nate Diaz’s last UFC fight be against Dustin Poirier in early 2022? It certainly sounds like it after recent comments from UFC President, Dana White, following UFC Vegas 45.
There’s been much speculation — both in fan circles and insider circles — that UFC is slow-playing the final fight on Nate Diaz’s contract to keep him around long enough to fight Conor McGregor for a third time. The most recent news on the subject had the promotion “tolling” Diaz after he turned down a fight with Khamzat Chimaev, which means Nate’s contract gets extended another six months. Every time Nate turns down a fight, UFC can toll him again. And it only has to offer him three fights a year.
There’s a whole anti-trust lawsuit against UFC winding its way slowly through the courts, and tolling is just a single piece in the overall power imbalance UFC enjoys when negotiating with fighters. Suffice to say, if it really wanted to turn the screws on Diaz, it could.
But, at the UFC Vegas 45 post-fight press conference (watch it here), White sounded like he was ready to book Diaz against Dustin Poirier if the fan demand was high enough.
“If that’s a fight that they want and the fans want to see, we’ll do it,” White said when asked about the back-and-forth matchmaking by Diaz and Poirier on social media.
I’ll fight Dp in January don’t be a scared lil bitch this time now or never pic.twitter.com/w5ly9o3m6y— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) December 16, 2021
Maybe UFC 271 they couldn't make it happen on 270. I said yes— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) December 17, 2021
Poirier is coming off a failed second attempt at full-fledged UFC gold at UFC 269 on Dec. 11, 2021. Following that loss, he sounded more interested in chasing big money fights rather than trying to get back into the Lightweight title mix.
Nate Diaz is at the top of his list.
“When I’ve been laying down thinking about fights, nothing gets me excited — unless Nate Diaz wants to fight,” Poirier said during a recent appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. “If he wants to fight, that gets me excited. But, all these other guys like even the new guys, and whoever it is, maybe a name will [get me excited] whenever I hear it, but nothing [right now].”
If UFC can book this fight up for February or March, it would be quite the attraction to get us through a dark winter. But, with no title up for grabs, we have to wonder what the chances are that UFC will offer Poirier and Diaz pay-per-view (PPV) points, something they definitely deserve for a needle mover of a fight this big.
As always, business plays a big part in what we’ll end up seeing in the cage. But, there’s no question about it: we want to see Poirier vs. Diaz fight.
For complete UFC Vegas 45 results and coverage click here.