Rizin FF leader and former PRIDE FC front man, Nobuyuki Sakakibara has suggested a future clash between former UFC welterweight contender, Nate Diaz, and former world champion professional boxer, Floyd Mayweather in the future – claiming Diaz could even likely defeat the Grand Rapids veteran.
Diaz, a one-time lightweight title challenger under the UFC banner, most recently headlined UFC 279 last month in a short-notice welterweight fight against former interim lightweight titleholder, Tony Ferguson.
Securing a fourth round guillotine choke win, Diaz was initially scheduled to fight the undefeated, Khamzat Chimaev at the end, however, the latter missed weight by seven and a half pounds for the fight.
As for Mayweather, the Michigan native called time on his professional boxing career back in 2017 following a tenth round TKO win over common-foe, former two-weight UFC champion, Conor McGregor in the Dubliner’s professional boxing debut.
In the time since, however, Mayweather has taken part in numerous exhibition boxing matches, including two under the banner of Rizin FF – most recently defeating Mikuru Asakura with a second round knockout back in September.
With Nate Diaz’s exclusivity period with the UFC in regards to contract negotiations set to come to an end in the coming weeks, the Stockton native has been linked with a slew of potential moves – including a transition to professional wrestling with the WWE.
Rizin FF declare their interest in a fight between Nate Diaz and Floyd Mayweather
An interested party appears to have risen in the form of Japanese promotion Rizin FF – with the previously mentioned, Sakakibara floating a fight between Diaz and Mayweather.
“We do think we’re at a point where we can’t just only focus on the Japanese market anymore,” Sakakibara said during an interview with MMA Mania. “We have to target the international audience. So, with that said, Floyd’s (Mayweather) doesn’t have to be a Japanese fighter anymore. It’s just one possibility thinking about the future. Not only Floyd’s opponent, but Nate Diaz as an individual has a great amount of character, fight style, and a great following internationally. So, as an individual, he would definitely be somebody we’d be interested to be talking to.”
“Nate’s kind of like the global (version of the) Asakura brothers,” Sakakibara explained. “The Diaz brothers are the global Asakura brothers. And who would not want to see them fight and take on Floyd Mayweather? Floyd’s been perfecting boxing his entire career and now he’s willing to do these exhibitions to fight different professionals like MMA fighters, YouTubers, and right now it’s the time where that is what sells and that is what people are entertained by. These big competitions – exhibitions – amongst different professions is something that really gathers attention and gets people talking.”
According to Sakakibara to boot, Diaz, who has always been linked with a move to boxing at the tailend of his professional mixed martial arts career, could potentially defeat Mayweather if they fought each other.
“Nate Diaz might even have a chance of beating Floyd, you know?” Sakakibara explained. “And for us to promote that ‘what if’ factor is definitely something that we need to promote for these exhibitions against Floyd. Making the people think maybe… that ‘if’ factor, Nate Diaz can bring all of that, so, we do think it’s a great idea.” (Transcribed by BJPENN.com)