Nate Diaz is scheduled to fight Dustin Poirier in the co-main event of UFC 230, but if we know anything about Diaz, it’s that anything is possible. After showing up at the press conference for UFC 230 last week, Diaz posted a couple of cryptic tweets seemingly suggesting that he is not interested in fighting at UFC 230 any longer. Rumors are the UFC told Diaz and Poirier they would be the co-main event to Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229, but they are fighting a month later at UFC 230, which could impact both getting a title shot as well as raking in some extra pay-per-view revenue.
None of us know exactly what happened with Diaz in the negotiations with the UFC to come back, and what he was or wasn’t promised, but considering he’s a guy who hasn’t fought in over two years and who has a history of playing games with the UFC, there’s no certainty Diaz is going to show up at UFC 230. I think the next few months is going to decide a lot, and much of it depends on what happens at UFC 229 between McGregor and Nurmagomedov. Just say it’s a great fight and McGregor wins, then there’s likely going to be a rematch. Perhaps Diaz was told if he beats Poirier he’ll get his trilogy fight with McGregor, which is what we all know he wanted this whole time he was out. He didn’t get it, but he did get a fight against Poirier. The problem is, as good as Poirier is as a fighter, he’s not really a proven draw yet. Again, I’m not sure what the UFC told Diaz, but it seems like they may have suggested to him he would be fighting on the same card as McGregor, because Diaz left the press conference last week as soon as the video package for McGregor vs. Nurmagomedov was playing on the screen.
The good news for the UFC is that Diaz has been out for over two years, and that means he probably wants to make a nice pay check, so even if he isn’t fighting on the same card as McGregor — which, by the way, seems strange because Diaz vs. Poirier seemed like the perfect co-main event for the UFC 229 card — the UFC is likely still confident he will show up at UFC 230. The UFC likely feels they are in a good position to capitalize on Diaz’ comeback, even if it’s not on the same card as McGregor, which is most likely what he was originally told. Instead of putting Diaz on the undercard of the McGregor card, the UFC instead is going to build two pay-per-view cards, and use Diaz’ name to help prop up UFC 230, which currently does not have a headlining fight. That isn’t going to make Diaz happy, but if it makes the UFC money then the promotion is going to be happy. The UFC likely figures it’s better to split up McGregor and Diaz because it is guaranteed a big night anytime McGregor fights, and so what’s the point of putting Diaz on the undercard. At the same time, that kind of thinking is probably why Diaz is upset, because it sure seems like someone told him he would be fighting on the same night as McGregor, or at least guaranteed him a title shot if he beats Poirier, the No. 1 contender right now.
The funny thing about the relationship between the UFC and Diaz is that neither side believes they need each other, but the truth is both sides need each other. The UFC needs stars and Diaz is one of the few that is available to fight right now. Diaz needs money and the UFC can pay him to fight. The two can help each other. But it seems like there was some sort of miscommunication during the negotiations for his comeback. The way it came together at such a late instance, with the news breaking in the middle of the night, was rather strange, but no one thought any of it.
At some point the truth will finally come out and we will find out what Diaz was talking about, but for now, let’s just hope he lives up to his contract and makes the walk for UFC 230, and let’s hope the UFC pays the man what he’s worth. The fans want to see Diaz fights, he wants to fight, Poirier wants to fight him, and the UFC needs this fight to happen because UFC 230 needs Diaz’ star power to help draw when it doesn’t even have a main event right now. Diaz is upset and it could be for very legitimate reasons, but all we can hope for is that he actually shows up and fights, and then figure out his problems with the UFC after. It’s all wait-and-see at this point.
Do you think Nate Diaz shows up to fight at UFC 230?