Over the last month, Nate Diaz has created quite the buzz both in MMA and mainstream sports circles. A great deal of chatter has centered on who Diaz will battle in his next UFC fight.
Between a public spat with Dustin Poirier to name dropping other fighters, and often being called out himself, Nate certainly has multiple options to choose from.
However, competing inside an octagon isn’t the only venue where Diaz could light the internet on fire. Jake Paul and his brother Logan have also landed on Diaz’s radar by calling out the popular UFC star to fight them inside a boxing ring.
And, if that wasn’t enough to get fight fans salivating, UFC President Dana White along with MMA media continue to throw out the possibility of a trilogy fight between Diaz and McGregor.
Let’s step inside the betting octagon to wade through the Diaz drama and see if Stockton’s bad boy will actually fight any of these names in 2022.
Dustin Poirier vs. Nate Diaz
At UFC 269, Dustin Poirier fell short in his quest to win the UFC lightweight title by suffering a submission defeat to Charles Oliveira.
The loss not only derailed Diamond’s plans, but it also prompted a ton of criticism from fans and fellow fighters. Among some of the top names to rip into Poirier’s performance were Colby Covington, Michael Chandler and Nate Diaz.
It appeared that all three of those men believed that Poirier in one way or another quit during the fight. Diaz took it a step further and declared that he would fight Dustin in January. Poirier agreed to that matchmaking and it seemed like we were heading towards a big showdown between the two.
Opening Odds for Poirier vs. Diaz
The following odds are courtesy of BetOnline:
- Dustin Poirier (-400)
- Nate Diaz (+300)
Once both men apparently agreed to fight each other, UFC betting sites released odds on the pairing. Surprisingly, Dustin Poirier opened up as a huge favorite at -400 odds.
Poirier hasn’t been that large of a betting favorite since he fought Jim Miller at UFC 208 in February 2017. Since the Miller fight, Dustin’s largest moneyline was -250 against Dan Hooker in June 2020. Those two put on a fight of the year candidate as Poirier won via decision.
Prior to the Edwards fight, Diaz’s last time being listed at this high of an underdog was the first matchup against Conor McGregor in March 2016 where Nate won via 2nd round submission. Diaz was listed with odds ranging from +340 to +375.
Will Poirier and Diaz Actually Fight?
Some fight fans and bettors might have forgotten that Diaz and Poirier were actually supposed to fight each other back in 2018. The two were scheduled to compete against each other at UFC 230, but Poirier suffered an injury and the bout was scrapped.
Following Poirier’s loss to Oliveira, Dustin stated that he wasn’t sure as to what he would do next. Never one to miss an opportunity, especially on social media, Diaz fired off a tweet stating the following:
“I’ll fight Dp in January don’t be a scared lil b*tch this time now or never.”
Poirier almost immediately said he was all in. The two would trade a few more shots before this storyline eventually died down.
Dustin has insinuated that Diaz is the one backing away from this opportunity. Once again, it appears that a matchup between Diaz and Poirier is more fantasy than reality.
Will We See a Trilogy Fight Between Diaz and McGregor?
UFC President Dana White recently acknowledged that the trilogy bout between McGregor and Diaz seems to be a legitimate possibility whenever they decide to do it:
“This is a tricky thing, because I don’t want to sit here and act like Nate Diaz turned this fight down or turned that fight down. I don’t want to get into all that. I say this to you guys all the time: I’m in the fight business. By contract, I have to offer these guys three fights per year, and they can say yes or no. We’re working it out. The trilogy with McGregor is always there. That fight could happen. We could make that fight.”
This could be the perfect time for a trilogy bout between Diaz and McGregor. Both men are coming off consecutive losses.
McGregor has dropped two in a row to Dustin Poirier including their trilogy bout which also saw Conor suffer a leg injury that he’s still coming back from.
Nate Diaz has also dropped two fights in a row to Jorge Masvidal in November 2019 via TKO due to a doctor stoppage and to Leon Edwards in June 2021 via decision.
With that said, I still doubt that these two will fight in 2022. We have a better chance of Poirier versus Diaz than a trilogy bout between McGregor and Diaz.
Could Diaz Fight Jake or Logan Paul?
Outside of the octagon, Diaz has been making waves with his actions at the Paul vs. Woodley 2 event. Diaz and his entourage were there to support his teammate Chris Avila who fought on the undercard and beat Anthony Taylor via majority decision.
As innocent as those intentions were, that’s not how things turned out.
During fight week, Diaz and his entourage got into a scuffle with the entourage of Bellator’s featherweight champion A.J. McKee.
Then during the actual Woodley vs. Paul 2 event, Diaz faked like he was going to punch fellow MMA fighter Carrese Archer as he was being escorted out of the arena. Archer has been begging the UFC to book him against Diaz ever since that encounter.
And, in typical Diaz fashion, he put the Paul brothers on blast with the following comments via social media:
“The Paul sisters hired this security team to make sure I wouldn’t get to them, like I was actually trying too. But it’s all good with u guys I don’t take this fight thang with u2 serious. You guys playing boxing with wrestlers who can’t box or lil ass Floyd and that’s not cool bruh but it’s good. I’m a real fighter from the real fight game so don’t trip so hard when you see me fellas let’s just be friends it’s good.”
Apparently, Diaz ended up leaving before the Paul vs. Woodley fight. However, after the fight, Paul ended up calling out Diaz and Jorge Masvidal.
In typical Diaz fashion, he dismissed the Paul call out, but then turns around to say that he’s in to all the fights and that anyone who calls him out is “gonna get it.”
A few weeks ago, the possibility of a Diaz vs. Paul fight could’ve become a reality. However, the UFC came to terms with Diaz on a contract extension and I highly doubt they would let Nate or any other signed athlete fight Paul inside a boxing ring.
So, this Diaz vs. Paul matchmaking is nothing more than a pipe dream.
Will We Circle Back to Chimaev vs. Diaz?
Back in November, the highly talented Khamzat Chimaev called out Nate Diaz following UFC 267 and wanted to see “who is the real gangster.”
UFC President Dana White was all-in on making this fight happen:
“We’re going to talk to Nate (Diaz) about it. One hundred percent (I’m interested in making that fight). This guy is like nothing anyone has ever seen. When you think about it, he’s got more UFC wins than he’s been hit inside the octagon. It’s insane. The other night they filmed his walkout on Instagram Live, and it broke the record. It’s the biggest Instagram Live we’ve ever done.”
Diaz would quickly brush off Chimaev by deeming the rising star as a rookie:
“They’re coming at me with (Chimaev) and I’m like, ‘Hold on, don’t disrespect me like that, trying to offer me a fight with a rookie.’ I’m cool. You got four fights in the UFC. Don’t even talk my name. … There’s levels to this and I don’t even want to hear his name.”
Chimaev is 10-0 in his career and 4-0 inside the octagon. Nate Diaz has a professional record of 20-13 and is 15-11 in the UFC.
As exciting as this matchup would be, there’s no way Diaz accepts it when he’s trying to get fights against Top 10 opponents. And, as much as White is pushing for this matchup, I don’t see it happening anytime in the next year or two.
Two Other Names as Potential Diaz Opponents
Although it’s unlikely that Diaz takes on Chimaev, McGregor, Paul or Poirier in 2022, there are two names that could be strong possibilities.
The first is Tony Ferguson. In fact, online betting sites already have odds out for Diaz vs. Ferguson:
- Nate Diaz (+120)
- Tony Ferguson (-140)
Despite his recent struggles, having lost three fights in a row, online sportsbooks have listed “El Cucuy” as the favorite in a potential showdown against Diaz. Nate was the one who originally brought up the idea of fighting Ferguson. But, it appears that Tony rather take on Conor McGregor next.
Another potential matchup for Diaz, and one that I would love to see, is a bout against Vicente Luque. Sports betting sites have listed Luque as a large favorite in this potential showdown:
- Vicente Luque (-210)
- Nate Diaz (+175)
This matchup actually has some meat on the bone as Luque called out Nate Diaz following a 1st round submission win over Michael Chiesa at UFC 265 in August:
“To me, Nate is a fighter and fighters fight, and I’m the kind of fighter that’s going to put on an exciting fight no matter who it is. So, Nate wants a big fight, I’m not going to sell it by talking, but I’m definitely going to sell it by fighting.”
Diaz took to social media afterwards and simply stated “So let’s fight.”
Since this initial buzz, we haven’t heard much about a possible Luque vs. Diaz matchup. Instead, Diaz has been caught up in other “feuds” with Chimaev, the Paul brothers and Poirier.
Who Will Nate Diaz Fight Next?
Now that Diaz has had his contract extended with the UFC, he’s poised for a big return to the octagon in early 2022. Unfortunately, there’s no signed deal as to who his next opponent will be.
That leaves us having to guess whether or not Diaz will actually compete against one of these big names like Chimaev, McGregor or Poirier.
As I’ve mentioned above, I just don’t see Diaz fighting any of those three in 2022. The McGregor trilogy fight makes sense in 2023 after both men get at least one win in 2022.
The Poirier fight could happen, but it would most likely take place at 170 pounds which means Dustin would have to go up in weight. I see Poirier fighting Michael Chandler next and then being medically suspended due to the war those two men would go through.
So, that also pushes a Poirier vs. Diaz fight into late 2022 or early 2023.
Diaz has already brushed off Chimaev and the boxing bout against Jake Paul won’t be allowed by the UFC. So, that leaves us Tony Ferguson and Vicente Luque.
Ferguson wants McGregor more than anything else and I can see the UFC making that fight happen upon Conor’s return.
Luque fits the bill for what Diaz is looking for in an opponent. Vicente is Top 5 in the welterweight division and more than willing to fight Nate.
Furthermore, Luque would stand and go to war with Diaz which is what the fans want to see anytime Nate steps inside the octagon. This pairing makes a lot of sense and I believe it will happen in 2022. In fact, this should be Diaz’s next fight.