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Nate Diaz targeting UFC return in December, ‘several high-profile’ options for opponents

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Nate Diaz is looking to fight one more time in 2021.

The one-time “BMF” title contender is currently targeting a return to action in December, though no date or opponent has been booked yet for his next fight.

Multiple people with knowledge of Diaz’s career plans told MMA Fighting on Wednesday that he is absolutely focused on fighting in December with “several high-profile options” available to him.

Diaz on Wednesday hinted at a timeframe for his next fight with an Instagram post, writing “defending in December.”

Thus far, Diaz has only competed once in 2021, losing a unanimous decision to Leon Edwards in a five-round featured bout in June at UFC 263. Despite the defeat, Diaz nearly finished Edwards late in the fifth round, which only further spurred interest in his next fight.

Lately, Diaz has been embroiled in a war of words online with Dustin Poirier after the top-ranked lightweight contender earned a second win over Conor McGregor earlier this year.

Diaz was originally scheduled to clash with Poirier back in 2018, but the fight fell apart in the weeks leading up to the event. Earlier this week, Poirier hinted at issues behind the scenes that led to the fight cancellation, though he was initially blamed after he opted to have hip surgery afterward.

“He won’t tell the true story of how the fight fell apart,” Poirier said on The MMA Hour. “I’m the fall guy. I get some injections in my hip, and it looks like I pulled out of the fight, when the fight was already off the table at that point. ... I just feel like we’ve got to fight at some point. But we’ll see.”

While Poirier is the biggest option available to Diaz right now, there are plenty of other fighters on the UFC roster he could draw into a fight. He has a longstanding desire to settle things with Jorge Masvidal, who was awarded a TKO via doctor’s stoppage in the “BMF” title fight due to cuts he sustained.

One-time welterweight contender Gilbert Burns has also called out Diaz numerous times in recent months, as well as his friend and training partner Vicente Luque, who asked for either Nate or Nick Diaz in the future.

It remains to be seen who will end up as the most likely opponent, but Diaz is already preparing for a fight with every intention of competing in December.