Say what you will, PFL, but Nate Diaz is only willing to step into the ring if it promises ‘authentic thrill,’ which he doesn’t see in Jake Paul’s MMA fight offer. The seasoned warrior, Diaz, is at the cusp of a brand new chapter in his extensive journey in the world of combat sports.
With a formidable record of 21 victories in his 34 professional mixed martial arts (MMA) encounters, Nate Diaz is ready to venture into the unknown as he makes his professional boxing debut. The MMA veteran is all set to go head-to-head with Jake Paul in the Middleweight division in the heart of Dallas, Texas this weekend, August 5, 2023.
Diaz’s tenure in UFC concluded on a celebratory note, masterfully executing a fourth-round guillotine to conquer Tony Ferguson in their high-stakes UFC 279 main event showdown last September 2022. Post this triumphant send-off from UFC, Diaz voiced his intention to return to the UFC arena after dipping his toes into diverse combat sports landscapes.
Ever since Diaz signed the dotted line for the clash against Paul, he found himself the recipient of a hefty $10 million MMA rematch invitation from none other than “The Problem Child” himself. However, Diaz, who isn’t particularly hungry for the extra payday, doesn’t find this proposal appealing, since it would (presumably) unfold in the Professional Fighters League (PFL) where Paul anticipates making his MMA debut in 2024.
In a candid interview on The MMA Hour, Diaz firmly stated his disinclination to fight under the PFL banner, “If we do something, we’re going to do something real. Co-promotion, if anything.” He signalled at either returning to his roots in UFC or continuing his combat journey in MMA or boxing.
Marking his entry into the MMA world in October 2004, Diaz’s career has been a thrilling saga. One of the highlights being his victorious campaign in The Ultimate Fighter 5 (TUF) as a Lightweight. His upcoming boxing debut with Paul stands as a testament to his adaptability. The event is a unique blend of Diaz’s Real Fight Inc. and Paul’s Most Valuable Promotions (MVP), introducing a fresh dynamic to the fight.
Paul, whose unblemished record took a hit from Tommy Fury in February 2022, is eager to bounce back and reclaim his spot at the top. As for Diaz, he had a clear response to Paul’s whopping $10 million MMA offer. He laid out explicit conditions for a rematch after their ten-round boxing spectacle on Saturday.
Diaz put it straight that he won’t be stepping into the cage just anywhere. His future MMA bouts would either have to take place in the familiar UFC Octagon or under similar arrangements as their upcoming boxing match. In his words, a Diaz vs. Paul fight under PFL – Paul’s MMA shelter – is a hard pass.
“I don’t fight for that organisation,” Diaz reiterated on The MMA Hour when questioned about Paul’s offer. “If we do something, we’re going to do something real. Co-promotion, if anything.”
In terms of financial aspects, Diaz’s Real Fight Inc. is set to share the revenue equally from Saturday’s fight with Paul’s Most Valuable Promotions. The collaboration has also managed to rope in pay-per-view giants DAZN and ESPN+ for the broadcast.
Beyond his Saturday night clash with Paul, which serves as a litmus test for his drawing power and competitiveness outside the UFC, Diaz has kept his plans under wraps. Numerous high-stakes matches in either boxing or MMA could be on the cards, not least of which is a much-talked-about trilogy with UFC superstar, Conor McGregor.
Unlike some other fighters, Diaz has seemingly left the door ajar for a potential UFC return, extending his gratitude towards the promotion despite a fleeting public spat and not discarding a possible comeback.
“It will probably either be back in the UFC, or do something like this in an MMA style – or boxing, either one,” Diaz pondered about his future course.
On the horizon is a thrilling 185-pound showdown between Diaz and Paul, set for this Saturday, a contest that could drastically change the course of their careers. A subsequent MMA showdown is not entirely off the table either, adding another layer of anticipation to their budding rivalry.