Earlier this week it was reported that Nate Diaz was willing to step in for the injured Max Holloway to save UFC 222. But while that doesn’t seem to be in the offing, UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley says he thinks Diaz will be back in the UFC soon, challenging for his belt later this summer.
“I think that fight will happen,” Woodley told ESPN this week. “I think it will happen this year. I think it’s way more likely than people realize. There are conversations about Nate and I fighting in July. The UFC has offered Nate that fight. They just have to make it worth his while.
”I think I’ll fight Nate this year, and I think it will be my return to the Octagon. If I had to bet the house on it, that’s my next opponent.”
Diaz hasn’t fought since losing his rematch with Conor McGregor at UFC 202 in August of 2016. The bout is the highest selling pay-per-view in UFC history. Since then, Diaz has been taking time off and demanding a huge payday to return to action.
Woodley has been campaigning for a Diaz bout since late last year when he wanted to fight the younger Diaz brother at UFC 219, but the fight never materialized. But Diaz recently took to social media to announce that he was ready to return to fighting, allowing Woodley to return to pursuing a fight with the former lightweight title challenger, though he admits he wouldn’t be willing to accept a short-notice fight to “save” UFC 222 unless his welterweight title wasn’t on the line.
“In four weeks? No. I wouldn’t fight him,” Woodley said. “If we’re fighting, I’m pretty sure it would have to be for my belt. Now, if they want me to fight him at a catchweight, not a title fight, I’m gonna have to drop to my knees and make a prayer to the most high for something like that.
”At this point in my career, if it’s a fight that’s not for my belt, I’m willing to step out of the box and do some different things.”
Diaz has spent the majority of his career as a lightweight but has recently suggested that moving back up to welterweight is in his future. He had a brief stint at 170 pounds, going 1-2 as a welterweight before moving back down to lightweight. His two fights with McGregor were a return to the welterweight division, albeit against the featherweight champion. Despite the size difference though, Woodley says he thinks Diaz would be willing to fight him if the UFC opened up the coffers.
“Do I think Nate will fight me?” asked Woodley. “Yes, for the right amount of money and the right time in history, I do,” Woodley said. “Is it a good fight for him? No. I’m a lot faster. I punch a lot harder. I can take him down. He’s not going to submit me. That said, it’s not a good fight for him. So, they have to make it up to him in dollars and cents.”
Should the Diaz fight materialize, presumptive No. 1 contender Rafael Dos Anjos, the former lightweight champion with a win over Diaz, would be left out in the cold. Dos Anjos has defeated three ranked contenders since moving up to the welterweight division, with his last outing a dominant decision win over former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler in a performance that was intended to determine Woodley’s next challenger. Woodley says he’s still open to that fight but, if given his druthers, the welterweight champion says he would prefer the Diaz fight.
“I just want to do something that’s going to push me forward career-wise or push my legacy,” said Woodley. “I need both. I need super fights, and I need to continue to knock off these rising contenders. I’ve been fighting the best of the best since Strikeforce. It’s not like I’m asking for anything that I haven’t paid my dues for. I had to earn this position the hard way.”
Woodley anticipates a summer return, preferably on UFC 226, the UFC’s PPV event for International Fight Week currently headlined by a champion-vs-champion superfight between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier.
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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
GSP is back to training.
How would you do if you had to fight yourself? This is always an interesting hypothetical question - in the case of Georges St-Pierre and Jake Shields it is actually a practical question! I have never seen two athletes so closely matched in skill level, tactics, technique etc in ground grappling. When they spar each other the only difference I see is their appearance and accent - other than that - identical! It’s great to see Mr St-Pierre back in the gym despite his battle with ulcerative colitis. He has had to make considerable changes in his diet to lessen symptoms and still has to avoid certain modes of training, but his grappling looked great as he battled the squad and former rival and now good friend and grappling doppelgänger Jake Shields . It impresses me so much to see two great athletes who have a legacy so strong that they could easily stop training altogether and live comfortably as legends, come into the gym everyday and battle the youngsters - giving all of them hell on the mats - an then laugh together after giving each other hell with identical games!
Picking a fight.
Respect the hustle.
I really think that Paige VanZant should get a favourable matchup next. Someone even younger than she is, without UFC experience, coming off a loss and with similar amount of pro fights. I even know fighter just like that— Aga Niedzwiedz (@NiedzwiedzMMA) February 6, 2018
Tim Means unhappy with Tony Weeks.
Rewatched my fight. Tony Weeks you and the other judge owe me $50,000. #ufcbelem— tim means (@MeansTim) February 6, 2018
Talked myself into shit the UFC offered us both the fight, I accepted and you made excuses! Now you have a injury. ♂️ https://t.co/Sf46oSuqP2— Cody Garbrandt (@Cody_Nolove) February 7, 2018
This is why fighters shouldn’t be in charge of this decision. They are fighters and often too tough for their own good.
Regarding fight stoppages... as a fighter, I only want my fight to be stopped if I tap or I’m unconscious. I know it’s a dangerous activity that I’m doing. I wouldn’t want a ref or cornerman to “save” me.— Roxanne Modafferi (@Roxyfighter) February 6, 2018
Jucao and Perry are now beefing.
I’m on the main card. To bad I’m not fighting your old ass pic.twitter.com/Mi5V5ZH997— Platinum Mike Perry (@PlatinumPerry) February 6, 2018
Seems like a PR disaster to be paying fighters $250+$250 but I’m no promoter.
You guys will not see me on Bellator March 2nd due to them not paying fighters what they need to be paid. $250 for show & another $250 to win?? Id rather get a job at dollar tree. pic.twitter.com/esLffBeisT— (@MarcSimsRJ) February 6, 2018
Dalby with some serious openness.
Fighting. It’s something we all do. We fight bullies at school. We fight to earn a living. We fight through sickness(mental & physical). We fight our inner daemons. We fight with our significant others, friends and family. We fight for the rights we believe in. We all fight our own fights, small and big ones. Every single day! For me, one of my biggest fights are coming up, literally and figuratively. Literally because I have committed to step foot in a cage to fight again after 1½ years away from the sport, after something that ended in me suffering 2 defeats in a row, the first ones in over 10 years of competitive fighting. But also figuratively. Figuratively because I have been battling a deep depression which resulted in alcoholism, apathy and hurtful behaviour towards the people I hold the dearest. Experiencing all of that and putting it behind me has been a very bumpy detour away from and back to the main-road that leads in the right direction. How do you come back after a downfall like that? Can you imagine the self-doubt? Can my body still handle a gruelling fight camp? Is my mind strong enough to handle the sessions where nothing is working, doubt sneaks in and the lingering injuries that undoubtedly lie ahead play with your head? Am I strong enough physically & mentally to not just take the fight but to actually go in there and unleash the hell & fury I have in me when believe in myself and I’m running on all cylinders(plus nitro)? Those are the questions that will get answered before summer arrives. Maybe I’ll get a major injury in the lead up to the fight. Maybe things won’t “click” when I’m finally in the cage. Maybe I will lose the fight. But theres only one way to find out. And that’s by fucking doing it! And doing it 110%! This is a fight to determine my future. Now is the time to prove to myself, my girlfriend, my friends, my family & the rest of the world what I’m made of. That I am going to follow up to the promises I made myself. And that is the real fight. If I do that, do the very best I can. Then I will win the fight in the cage. And the fight for my life! #LokomotivoDalby | #RoadToRedemption | #ThePhoenixWillRise | #FrateTrane
Congrats to #UFC star and former @RFAfighting champion @BrianTCity on being awarded "Hispanic Athlete of the Year" by @IncaKolaUSA and @Business_Latino!https://t.co/awsXVm18Uh— LFA (@LFAfighting) February 6, 2018
The Brian Ortega Foundation is set to launch in 2018.#TCity#MMA#LFANation pic.twitter.com/sgQFvhaIvu
The struggle is real.
I’ve been lifting weights for 27yrs and all I have to show for it is cardboard joints and a bird chest oh well time to lift— Forrest Griffin (@ForrestGriffin) February 6, 2018
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
This was also the first UFC event to feature weight classes, with Jerry Bohlander winning the lightweight (sub 200 pounds) tournament that evening and Vitor Belfort winning the heavyweight tournament.
This stuff is starting to get out of control. If Nate gets a WW title shot, lets just burn it all down because none of it means anything anymore. RDA deserves a title shot, and I have no idea who wants to see Nate vs. Tyron other than Tyron. I suppose today’s poll will let me know.
Take it easy and see y’all tomorrow.
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