Nate Diaz vs. Jake Paul wasn’t exactly the kind of fight the world had been clamoring for, but there was a certain logic to it. Paul has made a well publicized career out of beating former UFC talent inside the boxing ring, and Diaz has long been a name in the conversation for ‘best boxer in MMA’, even if he’s often had to insert his name there himself.
Once Diaz exited the UFC on a PPV headlining victory over Tony Ferguson, it looked like the natural jumping off point to a high profile celebrity boxing bout out in the free agency pugilism market. That said, why not find the same kind of fight for Nate’s brother, Nick Diaz?
There are a bunch of reasons.
Nick Diaz calls for fights with Logan & Jake Paul
At the peak of his abilities, Nick Diaz was a high profile star in his own right. And if we’re not talking career earnings, but simply depth of achievement, Nick was the one to win a notable belt in the cage and defend it. He got huge fights in the UFC with Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva, along with bouts against former champs B.J. Penn and Robbie Lawler all well before Nate found his own place as an MMA star.
For years, Nick was considered the far better fighter of the two brothers, and Nate lived firmly in his shadow. However, for all intents and purposes, his career also effectively ended with his loss to Georges St. Pierre, in 2013, at just 31-years-old.
In the time since taking on GSP, Diaz has gone on hiatus, been suspended, seemingly retired, had injuries and made a comeback. What he hasn’t done, is had a fight where he looked particularly competitive or invested in fighting. The last time he stepped in the cage was 2021, against former foe Robbie Lawler, for a rematch 17-years in the making. He looked out of shape, distinctly unmotivated, and tapped to strikes 44-seconds into the third round.
After the bout, Diaz sounded unsure as to why he’d even taken the fight, with suggestions that he’d been pressured into it by questionable management. Nonetheless, this last Saturday, he was in his brother’s corner for the Jake Paul PPV, sounding like he was ready for another comeback.
“I think [Nate] needed a little more work,” Nick Diaz said, on the PPV broadcast (transcript via MMA Fighting). “But let’s cut to the chase, I’m a lot better than both of these guys [Jake & Logan Paul] that are out there. I’d love to entertain the idea of moving on in on whoever they’ve got for me. So if they want to do Round 2 [against Jake], if [Nate] ain’t going to do it, I’ll take it. [Jake’s] got an older brother too, so don’t forget about the one and only.”
“Of course [it motivates me],” Diaz added. “That’s why I try to stay away from the fight game in general, because I’m all the way in. It’s all or nothing. I’m never one foot in, one foot out. But me coming here today, I just feel that I have a little bit of an opportunity to open up a little bit of a window. If that’s what it is, then just let it be known: I’m still motivated as ever, and I’m a harder worker and better fighter than anybody that’s out here in this right now in this day and age.”
Even putting aside the work it didn’t look like Diaz had done to prep for his last bout—he and his coach later claimed he had ruptured discs in his neck (which is terribly concerning in and of itself)—there’s a bigger reason Diaz calling for a fight with the Paul brothers has no sizzle to it.
Isn’t Nick Diaz still a UFC fighter?
By all appearances, Nick Diaz is still under contract with the UFC. Going back to March, and Diaz was already suggesting he might be looking to fight again, not in boxing, or over in the PFL, but right back inside the Octagon. As always, Diaz was setting his targets nice and high.
“I’m asking to fight as soon as possible. Not (against) Jon Jones, though,” Diaz told Inside Fighting, adding that he was “fine” with the idea of Israel Adesanya or Alex Pereira. “I always want to fight the best.”
Speaking to MMA Fighting back in December of last year, however, Jake Shields revealed that Diaz was still rehabbing his injured neck, after undergoing surgery to have titanium disks inserted. From what the fellow former Strikeforce champ outlined, NIck wouldn’t be cleared to go back to hard training until at least September. After that, the UFC had some fight ideas already waiting apparently.
“It’s like we’re getting the old Nick back, which is really good,” Shields enthused. “So, now that that’s happened, we’re waiting for the doctors. He’s got another appointment I think [in September]. And then he should be cleared to start his hard training again. Because right now he can only run and hit the pads and everything. But he definitely wants to fight. And the UFC, I’ve been in contact with them, they just actually called me the other day asking about Nick, and there’s some pretty cool fight options that are in front of us.”
At 40 years old, and with a decade of hard fighting already under his belt (plus another decade of training and partying), it’s hard to imagine any really good fights out there for Diaz. But, whatever they might be, they’re almost certainly going to be inside the UFC Octagon. Nobody needs to see 40-year-old Nick Diaz lose a celebrity boxing match.
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