Could the return of Nate Diaz be on the horizon in 2018? In a post on his Instagram account, Diaz fanned the rumors of his return by saying “Sick of sitting around waiting for you fuckers to do shit there’s no excitement in this fight shit step your games up I’ll see u around may,June. Sincerely The Real Champ.”
Diaz has not fought since his decision loss to Conor McGregor at UFC 202 in 2016. Diaz has maintained that he wouldn’t fight until he secured his rematch with McGregor. The two are 1-1 against each other with Diaz defeating McGregor at UFC 196 via submission. These words from Diaz make it plausible that he may in fact go back on his word.
Since the post that shocked the world hit the public, fighters around the UFC have been angling for a potential match-up. Most notably, Kevin Lee and Eddie Alvarez.
— Kevin MTP Lee (@MoTownPhenom) January 24, 2018
Heydorn’s Analysis: The return of Nate Diaz to the UFC is a big deal. For one thing, he is one of their biggest stars and has actually become a bigger star by not fighting. In the case of Diaz, absence made the heart grow fonder. Diaz has been involved in two of the biggest drawing UFC fights in history. The catch is that both were with the biggest star in MMA history, Conor McGregor. The jury is still out on what the drawing power of Diaz is when he’s removed from McGregor. That said, there is an incredible amount of excitement for his return and it will draw a relevant number. It won’t be in the millions, but it will be big enough compared to today’s trend of declining PPV numbers. The question becomes who will he fight. With the lightweight division in shambles and needing clarity at the top, a McGregor fight appears to be out of the question at this point. That would leave guys like Kevin Lee and Eddie Alvarez as top considerations. With Lee coming off a loss to Tony Ferguson, the more intriguing fight is against Alvarez. Both Alvarez and Diaz are aggressive fighters who can take punishment. Add that to the fact that Alvarez is coming off a win and that match-up climbs up the ladder of what makes the most sense.
WEDNESDAY NEWS NOTEBOOK
–Tony Ferguson confident in upcoming fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov. On the MMA Hour, Tony Ferguson detailed in grand fashion what he plans on doing to his UFC 223 opponent, Khabib Nurmagomedov. On the show Ferguson said, “I get hit for a certain reason, I want people to use their energy against me. But for Khabib, that b*tch is not going to touch me.” “Not one time. I’m going to dance circles around this kid. I’m going to be hitting him with some nasty f*cking uppercuts that are going to make him think twice about shooting in on me. He continued by saying, “Have you ever seen Khabib cut in a fight? I don’t think so. I’m Mexican and I’ve got some f*cking sharp ass blades on my elbows, so that b*tch better think twice about f*cking showing his face in front of me, especially inside that cage. Get in my face, dude, I’ll hit you with my knee. I’m going to leave you f*cking bloody.” Ferguson and Nurmagomedov have been booked to fight on a variety of different occasions, but haven’t due to injuries and failed weight cuts. UFC 223 is on Saturday April 7, 2018.
Heydorn’s Analysis: This fight makes me smile. These fighters have personalities and extremely high level skills. That is a recipe for success. If the fight is one sided in Ferguson’s way, his analysis is exactly how he can dominate Khabib. He’ll need to fend off the shoots with precision strikes. Khabib will have to weather that storm and make the take downs count. This fight is a classic tale of two styles and it will be a burner to the end.
–Michael Bisping mulling a fight offer for UFC London. Michael Bisping has been offered a fight for UFC London, but has not officially accepted due to his family’s influence and concern. On his Believe You Me podcast, Bisping said, “There’s a fight in the works for myself, and I’ve got until the end of the day to tell the UFC whether or not I’m taking it.” “There’s an offer that’s been made to me, and all fairness to the UFC, I’ve been kind of taking my time to give them an answer so I’ve got until the end of the day to give them an answer. “I’m just debating whether or not I take the fight. For me, whether or not those people can see, I have a bad eye. I have a bad eye and my wife doesn’t want me to continue fighting, and my manager doesn’t want me to continue fighting. I see out of that eye but not as well as I used to, and I’m still a young man so it’s kind of the reason I may hang the gloves up. My wife and manager and friends and people close to me say, ‘Mike, what do you want to do that for? You’ve done it. You’ve had the belt.’ I’ve done it. I’ve done what I set out to achieve.
Heydorn’s Analysis: Mr. Bisping, I agree with your family on this one and you should heed their advice. Michael Bisping made a drastic mistake in fighting on three weeks notice after his fight with GSP and fighting at UFC London would be another one. He has nothing to gain from fighting anymore. The guy has money and a legacy within the UFC. He is out of things to prove. If he was healthy and five years younger, then so be it, do what you want to do. He is the opposite of that. He has a bad eye and his body is suffering from the damage that comes along with being a fighter. He needs to ride off into the sunset and retire.
-Marshall Zelaznik is the new CEO of Glory. Former UFC executive, Marshall Zelaznik, has been hired as the new CEO for Glory. Zelaznik left the UFC in 2016 for a gaming company and is returning to the fight world with this move to Glory.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS NEWS: MONDAY NEWS DIGEST 1/22: Daniel Cormier sets a 2019 retirement date (w/ Heydorn’s analysis)