Fresh off a submission win over Tim Means at UFC Austin, Holland tossed his name into the hat for possible opponents after Diaz proclaimed that he would fight “anyone” just so he could complete his current deal with the UFC.
Diaz has one bout remaining on his contract and he’s stated adamantly that he wants to finish his deal so he can hit free agency to begin fielding offers from other potential suitors. Now Holland is answering the call while promising that he’d send Diaz packing on a loss.
“The Diaz fight, I’d smoke Diaz,” Holland told MMA Fighting. “Big brother, little brother, it doesn’t matter. Either Diaz brother, I’d smoke. I think Nate’s a better fighter than Nick. Either way, I’d smoke them.
“They’re over the hill, let’s be real about it. They’re both fun fights. They’re both over the hill. I mean Nate did good against Leon [Edwards] but Leon has a butter chin. It is what it is. For sure, I think me and Nate would have a fun time.”
Diaz has been embroiled in a contentious relationship with the UFC for months as he has continuously complained about not being offered a fight so he could finish his contract. As for Nick Diaz, he’s coming off a loss to Robbie Lawler from this past September in what was his first fight back in over six years but he’s stated that he plans to compete again, although nothing has been booked for him just yet.
Meanwhile, Holland is riding high after picking up back-to-back wins at welterweight including a stoppage victory over Alex Oliveira and the submission against Means this past weekend.
Immediately after his win, Holland actually asked for a fight against undefeated prospect Sean Brady but he admits the Diaz matchup really intrigues him now that it might be a possibility.
“In all reality, I would love to see Sean Brady fight somebody else and get closer to the title,” Holland said. “Think about it — if [Kamaru] Usman’s at 170 pounds, he needs some new faces.
“He has [Khamzat] Chimaev, somebody like Sean Brady, there’s another new guy that’s up and coming [Shavkat Rakhmonov], he’s pretty bad ass. I can’t say his name right so I don’t want to mess it up but there’s some guys out there that would be good for Usman up and coming and you can put me on the tail end of that.”
Holland has never backed down from a challenge so he’ll gladly face whoever the UFC throws at him but he believes a showdown with Diaz would attract a lot of attention.
Famous for talking to his opponents in the cage, Holland expects a fight with Diaz would produce more than a few memorable soundbites not to mention a spectacular clash for the fans.
“For sure, I think me and Nate would have a fun time,” Holland said. “I think the s*** talking back and forth would be awesome.
“I would let him Stockton slap me one time just for the fans and then I’d slap him back. Even though he wouldn’t let me, I’d get it back for the fans. Yeah, I think it would be a fun scrap.”
While Holland expects that his power would be more than enough to overwhelm Diaz, he would actually prefer to test himself against the one-time UFC title challenger across 25 minutes in a main event fight.
In fact, Holland confesses that he’d like to work on his conditioning for a fight with Diaz, especially after he had to push himself to chase after an alleged perfume thief in Austin just a day before his win over Means.
“I wouldn’t try to knock Nate out,” Holland said. “I’d try to go five rounds with Nate. I’d try to test my cardio with Nate. I know my coaches don’t want to hear that but I think I could just beat Nate anywhere. I think it would be awesome.”
“That crackhead [in Austin] pushed my cardio. Nate’s built like a crackhead. He’d probably push my cardio for sure.”
Another name mentioned to Holland as a possible opponent is Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, who is most notably known for his highlight reel knockouts and unique striking style.
“Honestly, I like both matchups,” Holland said. “Neither matchup proves I can beat the champ but both matchups are very fun. Both matchups do put me in a very good position in my life. Both guys for me, honestly I believe, I can beat them several different ways.
“I could beat ‘Wonderboy’ striking. He’s a karate guy. It’s karate against my kung-fu. I shouldn’t grapple with him but if I were to grapple with him, I’m pretty sure I would wreck on him.”
Holland admits that Diaz would be his first choice but he’s more than happy to take one fight after the other if the UFC wants to keep him busy for the rest of 2022.
“Let’s spread it out,” Holland said. “I’ll take Nate and then I’ll take ‘Wonderboy.’”