There are few people more plugged into the world of MMA than UFC commentator Joe Rogan. Not only has he worked for the UFC for 20 years, but he has developed close personal relationships with dozens of the biggest names in the sport. As such he is often privy to a wide array of backstage rumors and machinations and recently on his podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, he revealed another one of these rumors, this one about former Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz and his return to the octagon.
“Apparently they offered Nick Diaz Robbie Lawler and Nick passed on it,” Rogan said. “That’s the word. That’s the word behind the scenes. I wanted to see that fight. I would love to see that rematch. But I think Nick wants a f**king title fight. I think Nick is like, look I want a big, big name or a title fight.”
The UFC has been in talks with Diaz about returning for awhile now. He had previously been serving a suspension from the Nevada Athletic Commission for testing positive for marijuana and but that ended in August. Then he was still provisionally suspended until he payed the NAC a hefty fine but just last month Diaz reached an agreement with the NAC and is now fully cleared to return to active competition. However, if Rogan is right and Diaz wants a big fight, there aren’t many opponents bigger than Lawler that he could reasonably get paired against.
On of the few such possible opponents would be UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley. Woodley initially called out Diaz after winning the title at UFC 201 and has since reiterated his desire to face the Stockton native at UFC 209, the pay-per-view event which shares Stockton’s area code. Diaz has yet to make any public comments about Woodley’s repeated challenges which could indicate a lack of interest or simply awareness of the reality of his situation because, as Rogan recounted, UFC President Dana White has no intention of booking Diaz in a title fight right off the bat, despite their growing need for legitimate pay=per-view draws.
“When you look at the title picture... what guys sell pay-per-views? I think Woodley is a bigger star now that he beat Wonderboy but he still - Dana and I were having this conversation and he’s like, ‘you can’t have Nick Diaz. Nick Diaz hasn’t won a fight since 2011. You can’t have him step in and just go right up to the title and fight.’
“I said, ‘but I want to see it,’ and he goes ‘I want to see it too but you can’t do that.’”
The UFC is currently in a position of needing to maximize their profits and sharply raise their income. When WME-IMG purchased the UFC for $4 billion in 2016 they took on a substantial portion of debt to do so and thus need to hit some his marks so as to cover their debt and the interest accruing on it. Rogan likens it to a “$4 billion dollar mortgage” and that pay-per-views are the source of income used to pay that down., hence the organization’s thirst for “big, relevant fights” like a Nick Diaz return.
But with Diaz allegedly turning down Lawler and White putting the kibosh on a Woodley fight, who else might be able to pique Diaz’s interest? A Georges St-Pierre rematch is likely the best answer to this question but St-Pierre remains in a stalemate with the UFC about his contract and has no timetable for a return. However, Rogan does posit one possible opponent that Diaz knows extremely well, the former opponent of his younger brother Nate Diaz who vaulted him to the very apex of UFC stardom, UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor.
“I think they missed the boat if they want to make the f**king biiiiig money. I think it’s Nick Diaz versus Conor McGregor. They fight at 170 [pounds]... It’s a great story. I love a great story. Big brother steps in. Come on, son.”
The biggest impediment to this fight would be Nate Diaz, who is still angling for a rubber match with McGregor and someone whom Nick would never hamstring like that. However, money talks and in an era where the UFC is trying to make as much of it as humanly possible, there are very few fights the UFC could put together that would be bigger than Conor McGregor vs. Nick Diaz.
But they might have to give Nick even more than $20 million to make it happen.
FOTY. Conor McGregor was named MMA Fighting’s Fighter of the Year.
50/50. Ronda Rousey’s nutritionist thinks there’s a “50-50 chance” Rousey retires.
Messed up. Tony Ferguson responds to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s offer to pay him for a fight.
Money fight. Cody Garbrandt wants to fight Jose Aldo next to “test his chin.”
Season 2 of Lookin’ For a Fight.
Cowherd on Rousey.
Jay Glazer on Rousey.
Whoever did this is a hero.
Magny made TMZ.
Freddie Roach on Ronda
Kenny on Jay and Dan.
TTTHS sending off Goldie.
Anik and Flo
Tony can’t ever pretend like Khabib was ducking him now. This is some above and beyond ish right here.
Hey @TonyFergusonXT if the @ufc don't want to pay you I'll pay you 200k extra on your purse let's make this fight now you have no excuse— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) January 2, 2017
Number 3 in our voting, number 1 in our hearts.
My mom just told me that I'm her fighter of the year so it's all good you guys. #AndStill— Stipe Miocic (@stipemiocicufc) January 2, 2017
Gracious in victory.
The ending wasn't quite as smooth... #TheMMAHour awards pic.twitter.com/zb5DKIcsgP— Coach Kavanagh (@John_Kavanagh) January 2, 2017
It’s a cold world.
Hunting Monsters is never easy— mojahed fudailat (@MojahedFudailat) January 3, 2017
especially when u don't use your best tool
and bring with you a panicked Assistant #UFC207 @mma_gifs_ pic.twitter.com/37xKOPvo2w
The champ likes it.
@Michaelpage247 this is funny— Amanda Nunes (@Amanda_Leoa) January 3, 2017
Great exchange here.
You want to know how G I am? I moved from #8 to #6 without even fighting https://t.co/2VlnGi4M1p— Lorenz Larkin (@da_MONSOON) January 3, 2017
@da_MONSOON hahaha i moved from #1 to not even on the list without fighting lmao— Rory MacDonald (@rory_macdonald) January 3, 2017
Big Ben coming in hot.
Yeah fuck you @NewYorkRic SMH picks based on hype not skill unbelievable.... oh and I'm kidding @arielhelwani— Big Ben Rothwell (@RothwellFighter) January 2, 2017
TAM got a champ.
Fans are waiting.
Фото после моего крайнего боя на #ufc205, на легендарной арене Madison Square Garden. В данный момент я просто в ожидании кого мне дадут, я жду контракта на бой. #незатягавайUFC #фанатыждут ❗ After my last fight in #ufc205 at the legendary Madison Square Garden Arena. At this moment I'm just waiting for opponent and bout agreement. #stopdelayUFC #fanswaiting
Very cool of her.
One of the reasons I started my Pink Belt Fitness By Cris Cyborg program was because I saw a need to unite women of all religions, ages, and cultures in a way that they could empower each other and motivate one another to achieve more with a support system! I am a believer in Jesus Christ and a devout Christian, I am wearing the Hijab, a symbol of modesty and protection used by many women around the world, not as a sign of religion but as a symbol of support for all women around the world. The Hijab is not Anti American, or terroristic, sadly those are misconceptions from those who are lacking cultural understanding. Combat Sports should be an opportunity shared by all! Thank you Desert Force MMA Championship ديزرت فورس champion Yousef Wehbe and Phuket Top Team MMA Training Camp for helping me share my techniques!Posted by Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos on Sunday, January 1, 2017
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2015: Jon Jones defeated his greatest rival Daniel Cormier via unanimous decision to retain his UFC light heavyweight championship.
There were a lot of fighters that had a legitimate case for Fighter of the Year this year. I still think it should go to Bisping but Conor did make history which counts for a lot so I can understand why he won our voting. It was actually neck-and-neck until the last week when everybody had to lock in their final picks and then Conor surged to the top.
See you all tomorrow.
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