The Nate Diaz free agency is about to get very interesting.
Throughout 2022, the younger Diaz brother had essentially been begging for his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) release. The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 5 winner went as far as to once highlight Bellator specifically as a place he wants to fight for. Eventually, Diaz received one final bout offer against Khamzat Chimaev atop UFC 279 two weeks ago (Sept. 10, 2022).
Diaz didn’t end up facing Chimaev, but he still completed his contractual obligations, defeating Tony Ferguson via fourth round guillotine submission (watch highlights). Now, Diaz rides high off the momentum of a win for the first time since Aug. 2019 and into the world of combat sports free agency.
The general assumption is that Diaz will test himself in boxing next, it’s just a matter of who against. As of earlier today (Weds., Sept. 21, 2022), however, Bellator President, Scott Coker, revealed that the push for Diaz has started.
“Well, we are definitely talking to him,” Coker told BBC Sport. “We’ve reached out and I know he’s probably talking to everybody. He’s, I think, in a pretty good situation. I know he wants to fight Jake Paul. Jake Paul’s fighting, you know, against Anderson Silva on Showtime pay-per-view, which is our home network, so there’s some synergies here. We’re just hoping that we could have some type of deal to at least have his MMA fights with Bellator. We are in dialogue.”
Ties to Coker go back to the Strikeforce days for Diaz where his big brother, Nick, was the Welterweight champion. More recently, Diaz has been at several Bellator shows seen supporting his teammates or just enjoying the action when the promotion’s in California.
Diaz jumping ship from UFC to Bellator would be nothing new on the list of mixed martial arts (MMA) transitions, but time will tell regarding the exact future of the 37-year-old superstar.