At UFC 279 this past weekend, Diaz fought out his UFC contract ahead of a venture into the world of free agency. Having consistently requested his release or final fight, hinting at other ventures such as boxing bout with YouTuber-turned-pugilist Jake Paul, the Stockton native was matched with undefeated welterweight Khamzat Chimaev.
While many criticized the UFC for the booking, claiming that the organization were attempting to damage Diaz’s stock on his way out, the 38-year-old ultimately had his hand raised in the Las Vegas-held headliner, but not against “Borz.”
After submitting “El Cucuy” in the fourth round via guillotine choke, Diaz reiterated his plans to explore opportunities away from the Octagon for the time being. He did, however, hint that a return to the UFC could be in the cards down the line.
According to one elite member of the UFC roster, the fact that Diaz left the door open for a comeback says a lot about the promotion.
During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, #5-ranked UFC lightweight contender Michael Chandler discussed Diaz’s exit and possible options as he approaches free agency.
Having seen the Stockton star reveal his plans to “take over” another profession before returning to the Octagon, Chandler cited Diaz’s intentions as proof that the UFC is the “big show” and the place to be.
“Nate’s got a plethora of options. The guy is a huge draw, a big name. He is intriguing. He is interesting,” Chandler said. “People wanna see what he’s gonna do. I’ve heard a couple different takes on what he’s gonna do. Obviously, there’s a couple low-hanging fruits out there, a couple obvious options.
“And then also, the greatest thing too — even with the middle fingers to the man and the water bottles thrown, he still said, ‘I’mma come right back here to the UFC.’ Why would Nate say that or want to that? It just goes to show, this is the place to be, this is the big show,” Chandler added. “So, he’s gonna go out and have a little bit of fun, do some other sports, and we’ll see Nate Diaz back in the UFC down the line.”
If Diaz follows through with those plans, perhaps Chandler will be ready to welcome him back to the UFC cage. During Diaz’s long search for an opponent, “Iron” was one of many who through their name into the hat.
Having missed out on the chance to mark the final opponent of Diaz’s contract, maybe he’ll look to represent the first on a new deal down the line.
Do you agree with Michael Chandler’s take on Nate Diaz’s UFC departure?