clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Free agent Nate Diaz teases with RIZIN post after promotion expresses interest

Jake Paul v Anderson Silva Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

RIZIN Fighting Federation is gearing up for a massive 2023 after a solid close to its 2022 campaign on New Year’s Eve.

The promotion may not have won the head-to-head series with Bellator MMA at RIZIN 40, but the overall event generated plenty of buzz and noteworthy moments — including striking a deal with Manny Pacquiao. Earlier in 2022, RIZIN put in motion the possibility of making a U.S. debut in Hawaii. Additionally, fans saw the return of boxing legend, Floyd Mayweather Jr. (watch highlights).

Towards the tail-end of the year, the combat sports world gained a big-name free agent in the form of a 15-year Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran, Nate Diaz. RIZIN President, Nobuyuki Sakakibara, spoke with MMA Mania on BROADENED HORIZIN in Oct. 2022, expressing interest in a possible Diaz versus Mayweather match up.

Today (Thurs., Jan. 5, 2023), Diaz took to Twitter and teased the world with the idea of him competing in Japan, posting a RIZIN photo.

MMA Mania reached out to the promotion for comment on Diaz’s post and if there had been any movement between both parties since the Stockton, Calif. native’s official combat sports freedom in late Nov. 2022.

“RIZIN is definitely interested and has already spoken to Nate’s manager, following his free agency and specific numbers have been brought up,” the promotion said in response.

MMA Mania has also reached out to Diaz’s team, but has yet to receive further comment.

Diaz’s appearance in a Japanese MMA promotion wouldn’t be the first time a Diaz fought under a Sakakibara-led banner. Diaz’s older brother, Nick Diaz, fought once for PRIDE Fighting Championship in Feb. 2007, taking on Lightweight legend, Takanori Gomi, in an instant classic.

Ultimately, the time might be better than ever for RIZIN to continue expanding globally after continuing successful business ventures with the likes of Bellator, Mayweather, and the upcoming Pacquiao experiment.

“Nick and Nate, they both have a great personality, their fighting style is very exciting, and we’ve known them since the PRIDE days,” Sakakibara said on BROADENED HORIZIN in October. “We had Nick fight in PRIDE before and we’ve known them from way back. So, if we were to do something with Floyd again, we always have to talk about an opponent.

“We do think we’re at a point where we can’t just only focus on the Japanese market anymore,” he continued. “We have to target the international audience. So, with that said, Floyd’s opponent doesn’t have to be a Japanese fighter anymore. It’s just one possibility thinking about the future. Not only Floyd’s opponent, but Nate Diaz as an individual has a great amount of character, fight style, and a great following internationally. So, as an individual, he would definitely be somebody we’d be interested to be talking to.”

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania