MMA fans have not seen much of Nate Diaz since his two incredible fights with Conor McGregor last year, but that could soon change if Dana White has his way.
Stepping in at the last minute to replace the injured Rafael dos Anjos for the UFC 196 headline clash with the Irishman last August, there began a historic rivalry.
A welterweight clash with the featherweight/lightweight star saw Diaz eat many a bomb from McGregor before he turned the tide in the second round and submitted the featherweight champion in the most shocking of fashions.
An epic rematch at UFC 202 saw McGregor learn from his mistakes and take a majority decision over the Stockton fighter in a five-round epic.
The two fights netted the 31-year-old Diaz several million dollars and short of a ‘copycat’ claim to be headed towards the square ring and a boxing career, along with a number of dubious social media updates showing him enjoying some newly legalised cannabis, we haven’t seen much of the ‘bad boy’ of MMA.
Reported late last week by MMA Junkie, UFC president Dana White revealed in an interview with USA Today Sport, that as well as offering Nick Diaz a pair of fights, which were rejected by the elder brother, Nate was also offered a way back into the octagon against a currently unnamed opponent.
“We just offered Nate Diaz a fight, and we’re waiting to hear back from him, so we’ll see.
“These guys say they want a fight – I offered Nick Diaz two fights. He turned down two fights. I offered him Robbie Lawler. Robbie Lawler accepted the fight. Then I offered him Demian Maia. Nick Diaz turned down two fights. And then we just offered Nate a fight.”
Following White’s revelation, the younger Diaz appears to be happy to sit idle as his recent social media activity appears to reject whatever fight was offered.
Lol at your fight…
— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) February 4, 2017
Not a rejection out of hand but certainly not the kind of response you would expect from someone eager to get back into the thick of the action.
Unsubstantiated rumours suggest a potential opponent for the UFC 211 fight is none other than former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez.
Only in recent days the Philadelphia native announced his intention to return to action following his UFC 205 hammering by McGregor.
Frankly, an Alvarez-Diaz match-up would be an epic spectacle and would give the event an interesting sub-plot in that both are coming off the back of McGregor defeats.
Such a fight would likely see the Irishman tickled pink and give him ample opportunity to pass comment ahead of the intriguing match-up.
Right now the UFC needs a headliner that will stir the emotions of fans. With McGregor on hiatus, Ronda Rousey likely gone for good and a raft of new stars emerging, there is a lack of a bombastic rivalry that can sell the pay-per-views that the UFC craves.
Tyron Woodley is doing his best to make waves ahead of his rematch with Stephen Thompson at UFC 209 in March but aside from that, every other headline fighter named in upcoming events is going about their business quietly and respectfully.
While there are some absolute gems on the horizon, namely Daniel Cormier v Anthony Johnson at UFC 210, the company needs the kind of promotional rollercoaster that McGregor gave us in the build-up to his Diaz clashes and his year-long pursuit of Jose Aldo.
Dare it be said then that the UFC actually needs Nate Diaz to return for UFC 211? A clash with Alvarez would certainly give White a headliner that fans could get their teeth into.
Right now, the Stockton fighter appears disinterested. Perhaps the UFC supremo just needs to find the right angle in order to sell this one. Money is always a good place to start.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena