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Nate Diaz: Tyron Woodley fight ‘is my best option’ for UFC return

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Nate Diaz Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

One day after UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley indicated that a fight with Nate Diaz was “way more likely than people realize,” the latter fighter confirmed interest in the potential bout.

Diaz, who hasn’t fought since splitting a pair of bouts with Conor McGregor in 2016, recently expressed his desire to end his hiatus, and told ESPN on Wednesday that he’d be open to the idea of fighting Woodley, potentially at UFC 226 in Las Vegas on July 7.

”I’m getting to the point where I’m sick of not fighting. I’m not getting any younger,” Diaz said. “I put that tweet out saying I wanted to fight in May or June, but I didn’t say who because I was weighing my options. And now, Woodley is my best option.”

Woodley hasn’t fought since defeating Demian Maia at UFC 214 last July. The UFC expressed interest in booking the Woodley-Diaz fight in December, but after it didn’t come together, Woodley opted to undergo shoulder surgery he had been putting off, from which he is currently rehabbing.

Diaz, who made by far his biggest career paychecks from his meetings with the superstar McGregor — Diaz won their first bout at UFC 196 via second-round submission, then McGregor took the UFC 202 rematch on a majority decision — had been perceived as holding out for a trilogy fight, which no doubt would have done major business.

But with McGregor showing no real signs of a return following his blockbuster boxing match with Floyd Mayweather last summer, it’s become clear Diaz is getting restless for a return.

”He’s just living his life right now and he’s got a magnifying glass on him, whatever he’s doing,” Diaz told ESPN. “I don’t give a f*ck what he does. I’m sure he’s up and down. ‘Do I want to be in these lights? Why am I not in these lights? I need to get in the lights. I need to get out of the lights.’ It’s a crazy roller coaster.”

A Woodley-McGregor bout would be controversial from a divisional standpoint. Diaz is usually a lightweight, and his bouts with McGregor have been his only ones contested at welterweight in seven years. Additionally, there is also a clear-cut No. 1 contender at 170 pounds in former lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos, who tweeted his displeasure with the situation on Tuesday.

@TWooodley man up and stop talk about fight that make no sense, everyone know that I’m the real contender. You want to fight a guy that has never beat a real welterweight in his whole life. Shame on you...” dos Anjos tweeted.