Nate Diaz Interested in Octagon Return at UFC 222

Popular UFC lightweight Nate Diaz has put his hand up to headline UFC 222 after featherweight champion Max Holloway pulled out of the card following an injury.

Holloway’s opponent Frankie Edgar is now looking for a new dance partner, with featherweight contender Brian Ortega being a shoe-in for the spot.

Photo: Metro

Despite a new opponent almost being scheduled, the UFC doesn’t believe that the bout would suit a pay-per-view headliner, and are starting to look for a new face to help sell UFC 222.
UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw has already been approached to take on his rival, former teammate and former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt, however, Dillashaw has turned down offers from the UFC, saying he is instead aiming to fight flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson later this year.

“I lost a split decision to Dominick Cruz when I lost my belt, the UFC told me they thought I won that fight, and it still took me two years to get back to it. I had to wait through Cody’s back injury last year, all of The Ultimate Fighter bullsh*t. I told the UFC I’m doing it, I’m shooting for the DJ fight in July,” said Dillashaw in an interview with ESPN journalist Brett Okamoto earlier this week.

Photo: Getty

So steps forward Nate Diaz, the last man to defeat UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor inside the octagon, who hasn’t seen action since his rematch with the popular Irishman in August of 2016. The first fight between the two men saw McGregor trying to put Diaz away earlier.

McGregor would tire in the second round, be rattled by a sharp combination from Diaz and then choked out on the ground. The second bout saw the two men battle to a contentious split decision, leaving the door open for a third bout somewhere down the line.

Diaz has been inactive since that bout but said in late January that he was interested in returning to the Octagon in May or June.

Photo: NewsAPI

Perhaps with a little monetary encouragement, he could be persuaded to return sooner. The lightweight told Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times that he was certainly interested in swooping in to save UFC 222 from ruin.

”The best option to fill in for the Max Holloway void at UFC 222 is Nate Diaz and he tells me he’s 100% interested,” Pugmire wrote. “Make it happen, UFC!”

Who could he take on at UFC 222? Could a bout with former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, Dustin Poirier or Kevin Lee be on the horizon?