Nate Diaz asks for UFC release via Twitter

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

In a surprise move, perennial lightweight contender Nate Diaz (17-9) took to social media Wednesday afternoon to ask for his release from the UFC.

"I would like to request to be released from the @ufc. It's time for me to be on my way .. ?" Diaz wrote on Twitter in a message addressed to both UFC President Dana White and the official UFC account.

Diaz's announcement comes just days after the UFC matched an extremely lucrative contract offer initially extended to friend and longtime teammate Gilbert Melendez by Bellator MMA.

Diaz, currently the UFC's No. 5 ranked lightweight, has competed within the promotion since winning The Ultimate Fighter 5 in 2007. He holds a 12-7 record over that time, and fell short in his only title shot, losing a unanimous decision against Benson Henderson in 2012.

Representatives of Diaz's management did not immediate return messages left by MMAFighting.com.

UFC officials have yet to comment on the situation.

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