It looks like Nate Diaz and the Ultimate Fighting Championship have buried the hatchet, and fans might finally see the Stockton bad boy return to action soon.
The Nevada-based promotion had a thrilling night on Sunday as its first fight night under the ESPN banner brought fireworks, with the Vicente Luque and Bryan Barbera showdown providing big lights, following their epic three-round contest in the main card.
Knockout sensation Francis Ngannou also made heads turned as he cruised to an emphatic first-round technical knockout victory over MMA legend Cain Velasquez in his long-awaited comeback.
And in a surprising turn of events, Diaz made a quick appearance at Dana White’s post-event interview and teased MMA fans about his future Octagon return.
In Good Shape
Nate Diaz was in attendance at UFC Fight Night in Phoenix, Arizona on Sunday night. The Stockton native served as one of the cornermen for the debuting Kron Gracie, who submitted his opponent in just the first round of their featherweight bout.
It has been more than two years since Diaz last appeared in the UFC cage. In 2016, he starred in a return fight with Conor McGregor, but things ended differently compared to their first meeting as he lost in judges scorecards.
The UFC booked Diaz for a lightweight bout against Dustin Poirier last August, but the fight was cancelled as the latter pulled out due to injury. Recently, he threatened to leave the promotion and even teased a move to UFC’s rival, the Bellator MMA.
Despite his absence, the former Strikeforce champion is still getting callouts from various UFC fighters. The most recent callout was issued by his old rival, McGregor, after MMA legend Anderson Silva challenged the older Diaz, Nick, to a fight in his hometown in Curitiba, Brazil.
The Irish star said he wants to fight Nate in a trilogy bout if the UFC books Silva and Nick for UFC 237.
Nothing is cast in stone yet, but a recent report suggested that the younger Diaz can be returning soon as he continues to train hard and is, in fact, in better shape now.
“He’s training hard. His brand is huge. He’s so dang famous; the guy’s an A-lister now. Everyone knows him where I go. If anyone could come back and do it and stay on track and everything, it’s him,” said his friend, Gilbert Melendez.
“I don’t think there’s anything holding him back, except just his decision whether he wants to come back or not. He’s in shape. He’s in dang shape… I think he’s always running and staying ready. He’s a ninja. He’s always ready.”
Melendez could be right when he said that Diaz might be coming back for another tour of duty at UFC. During the post-fight wrap up at UFC Phoenix, Nate made a quick appearance mid-interview to say hello to the UFC boss and teased fans on a potential comeback that might happen anytime soon.
UFC correspondent Megan Colivi asked Diaz: are we going to see you soon or what?
To which he replied: “Yes, we’re coming.”
Watch it in the video below:
With Diaz now looking to be in good terms with the UFC, fans might finally see him back in the Octagon soon. And by saying “we,” does he mean his brother, Nick, will also make a comeback?
(Featured Image Source: UFC/YouTube and Twitter/UFC)