Late last year, UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley campaigned for a fight against Nate Diaz at December’s UFC 219, but the promotion was unable to book the fight, nor did UFC President Dana White show much interest in it.
Because of that, Woodley underwent shoulder surgery to repair an injury he suffered in his last fight at UFC 214.
Now well into his recovery, Woodley is planning a comeback fight for this upcoming July and he feels as if the Diaz fight is still the most likely option for his next contest:
“I think that fight will happen,” Woodley told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. “I think it will happen this year. I think it’s way more likely than people realize. There are conversations about Nate and I fighting in July. The UFC has offered Nate that fight. They just have to make it worth his while.
“I think I’ll fight Nate this year, and I think it will be my return to the Octagon. If I had to bet the house on it, that’s my next opponent.”
Diaz hasn’t competed since August 2016 when he suffered a majority decision loss to Conor McGregor in a rematch of their UFC 196 bout where Diaz shocked the world and submitted the Irishman with a rear-naked-choke.
Recently, the Stockton native implied that he’d be making a return later this year. There were also reports that surfaced earlier this week that indicated that Diaz was interested in saving March’s UFC 222, which lost its main event this past weekend after Max Holloway suffered an injury.
White, however, shut down those rumors, and Woodley said that he wouldn’t fight Diaz on such short notice:
“In four weeks? No. I wouldn’t fight him,” Woodley said. “If we’re fighting, I’m pretty sure it would have to be for my belt. Now, if they want me to fight him at a catchweight, not a title fight, I’m gonna have to drop to my knees and make a prayer to the most high for something like that.
“At this point in my career, if it’s a fight that’s not for my belt, I’m willing to step out of the box and do some different things.”
As far as the fight goes, however, Woodley thinks that Diaz would be a willing challenger – that is if he’s compensated, although “The Chosen One” also doesn’t think it’s a good fight for the Stockton native:
“Do I think Nate will fight me? Yes, for the right amount of money and the right time in history, I do,” Woodley said. “Is it a good fight for him? No. I’m a lot faster. I punch a lot harder. I can take him down. He’s not going to submit me. That said, it’s not a good fight for him. So, they have to make it up to him in dollars and cents.”
Would you have any interest in seeing Diaz challenge for the 170-pound title?