Nate Diaz has made plenty of noise about a UFC return in 2021 and said he wants two-to-four appearances in the Octagon this year.
The Stockton, California native didn’t compete in 2020, having last fought Jorge Masvidal for the ‘BMF’ title at UFC 244 in November, 2019.
Despite that inactivity, Diaz told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani who is on his fighting wishlist and he has his cross hairs on top UFC lightweight competition – even though he said he doesn’t want to cut down to 155 pounds, preferring contests at either a 165-pound catchweight or the 170-pound welterweight limit.
“I’m ready to get this show on the road. I’m just trying to get it going,” Diaz said [transcript via ESPN]. “Last year, it was a real bummer.”
Diaz’s number one target appears to be Dustin Poirier. “The Diamond,” who is coming off a big win against Diaz’s longtime foe Conor McGregor, is the consensus UFC lightweight champion in waiting as Khabib Nurmagomedov’s retirement has put division’s title picture on hold for now.
Poirier and Diaz were booked to fight in 2018, before the former pulled out of the proposed contest at UFC 230 to rehabilitate an injury as he grew frustrated with fight negotiations.
The pair have exchanged plenty of words since and Diaz still wants to fight the Louisianan.
“I’m not gonna play f**king nice guy like Conor McGregor just did with him,” Diaz said. “Conor just walked him right in for the taking. I think a fight with me would be more real, a more serious situation for him. I don’t think he could sleep with that.”
A variety of UFC lightweights have called out Diaz in recent weeks after he showed desire to make a return to the cage in 2021 – namely former interim UFC lightweight champions Justin Gaethje and Tony Ferguson.
But it’s the last man who beat Ferguson who Diaz would prefer to fight if a bout with Poirier doesn’t materialise – Charles Oliveira.
Brazil’s Oliveira dominated Ferguson en route to a unanimous decision victory at UFC 256 in the final pay-per-view of 2020 and is seen as the second competitor in line to fight for a UFC lightweight championship behind Poirier.
“That’s the guy right there,” Diaz said of Oliveira. “I’ll fight that guy. I like the winners. I’m trying to fight the guys who are winning.
“I think Oliveira is the best fight right now,” Diaz added. “And Dustin Poirier.”