All good things come to an end, and love him or hate him it’s impossible to argue that Nate Diaz doesn’t deserve a fitting finale to his UFC career.
At 36, and with plenty of miles on the clock, Diaz is into the final fight of his contract with the organization, and there’s not been any word on whether that will be extended – nor whether the brawler plans to fight on in the future.
Nobody can accuse Diaz of doing things the easy way, and after a three-year hiatus he returned to the UFC to take on three of the most devastating fighters in the business – Anthony Pettis, Jorge Masvidal and Leon Edwards.
He lost against the latter duo, which in part has led to the Edwards vs Masvidal contest in December. That’s a crucial fight for them and for the welterweight division, with either man at risk of a career-ending defeat. The UFC betting with Betfair odds make Edwards a warm favorite, and another loss for ‘Gamebred’ to follow his consecutive reverses at the hands of Kamaru Usman could spell the end for another 36-year-old.
Diaz will no doubt be watching on from home with great interest, but his attentions may lie elsewhere with reports suggesting his UFC swansong will come against the dangerous Vicente Luque.
There were rumors of Diaz completing his trilogy with Conor McGregor or taking on the resurgent Dustin Poirier, but Chael Sonnen – himself a UFC legend – has let slip that the veteran could be close to agreeing terms to fight the American that holds Brazilian and Chilean passports.
“Nate said, ‘I want [Vicente] Luque.’ And I said, ‘what do you like about Luque?,” Sonnen revealed, before confirming: “Nate said, ‘I like the number next to his name.” All of which would suggest that Diaz is still interested in climbing the welterweight rankings, despite the mystery surrounding his new contract.
It’s typical Diaz too. Luque has won ten of his last eleven fights in the UFC – nine of those coming via knockout, stoppage or submission. He is a dangerous customer… just how Diaz likes them.
One thing you wouldn’t accuse Diaz of is being fame-hungry or something of a showman – he’s all about the brawling.
But he might just be heading for a day of showbiz infamy if his rumored boxing match with YouTube star Jake Paul goes ahead.
Former UFC scrapper Josh Thomson claims the fight will go ahead if Paul beats another reality star turned boxer, Tommy Fury, in December, and that Diaz could bank ‘between $10 and $15 million’ for his efforts.
A number of former MMA stars have been queuing up to go toe-to-toe with Paul, and the 24-year-old already has the scalps of two of those on his resumé – former UFC welterweight champion Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley, who he beat on a split decision in August.
But Diaz, you suspect, is a different animal entirely, and while YouTuber Paul is a solid enough technician in the ring, he might just have bitten off more than he can chew in the shape of the future UFC hall-of-famer.