It doesn’t appear that Nate Diaz is going to fight Tyron Woodley at UFC 219 unless the promotion is willing to make him an extremely lucrative offer.
According to longtime boxing Richard Perez, the Las Vegas-based promotion hasn’t come through in that regard. Diaz hasn’t competed since losing a majority decision to Conor McGregor in their rematch at UFC 202 in August 2016.
“I don’t think [they’ll fight at UFC 219]. The UFC doesn’t want to give Nathan the money,” Perez told Submission Radio. "You know, because what Woodley’s trying to do, he’s trying to get his name up there and he wants to fight the best, so he wants to fight Nathan. But UFC doesn’t want to pay Nathan, so why fight him? We can fight McGregor.”
Woodley has been lobbying for a fight with Diaz at the UFC’s Dec. 30 event in Las Vegas. The reigning welterweight champion, who is coming off a successful title defense against Demian Maia at UFC 214, has sought a so-called “money fight” ever since he claimed the 170-pound title with a knockout of Robbie Lawler in 2016.
“I’m here,” Woodley said during the UFC Fight Night 121 weigh-in show on Fox Sports 2 last week. “All I need is the paperwork sent — UFC 219, Dec. 30 needs a headliner. It’s been offered to me, it’s been offered to Nate Diaz. Unfortunately, one half has not accepted. So you guys, people listening and watching, you guys need to get the Twitter fingers and ask your man that said ‘Don’t be scared,’ why is he scared?”
Meanwhile, Perez has a figure in mind for what it would take for Diaz to agree to face Woodley in the Octagon. It isn’t quite as much as the $20 to $30 million figure he proposed for a trilogy bout against McGregor, but it is significant.
“$15 million, easy. Easy. I mean, he’s a star right now,” Perez said. "I mean, McGregor can’t even fight right now, he got suspended. And Woodley’s trying to fight everybody. He says McGregor doesn’t want to fight him….He’s naming all these people that don’t want to fight him, you know, because he’s trying to get his name, he’s trying to get up there, and nobody wants to [fight him]. I mean, he’s got the belt. So what? The belt don’t mean nothing anymore. It’s about who you’re fighting to make the money.”
At the moment, it appears that a trilogy bout between Diaz and McGregor is the more appealing option to the Stockton, Calif.-based fighter’s camp.
“Well, everybody wants to see McGregor and Nathan,” Perez said. "Woodley is out of the picture. I mean, he’s just blubbering now and talking cause he wants to get noticed, he wants to be up there in top too. I don’t blame him, that’s normal for a fighter cause he has the belt. He thinks the belt’s important, it’s not right now, it’s about who you’re fighting. That’s why he’s trying to get Nathan, he’s trying to get McGregor. But what everybody wants to really see is McGregor and Nathan. That’s all I ever hear.”
Of course, if Diaz were to fight Woodley, Perez is pretty confident that his charge would be successful.
“Woodley – see, he’s fought guys like Robbie Lawler. Robbie Lawler wasn’t expecting that, he wasn’t expecting for Woodley to just come out and throw, and he kind of closed up a little bit, Robbie Lawler. Nathan won’t,” Perez said. "Like I said, when he’s in tip top and not hurt, he’ll go out there and he’ll box him, he’ll outbox Woodley. Woodley, sure he’s fast, but he don’t have the reach, and Nathan’s fast too. Believe me, when he’s throwing combinations good, he’ll nail them. And if it goes on the ground, Woodley doesn’t have a chance.”