The rumors of a Tyron Woodley vs. Nate Diaz title bout in December quickly fizzled, but the fight is apparently far from dead.
In an interview with ESPN.com, the reigning welterweight champion said that the UFC has offered Diaz a title shot at an event this summer.
"I think that fight will happen," Woodley told ESPN. "I think it will happen this year. I think it's way more likely than people realize. There are conversations about Nate and I fighting in July. The UFC has offered Nate that fight. They just have to make it worth his while.
"I think I'll fight Nate this year, and I think it will be my return to the Octagon. If I had to bet the house on it, that's my next opponent."
At the end of last year, Woodley said that a fight with Diaz was in the works for UFC 219 on Dec. 30. UFC President Dana White subsequently denied that there was any possibility of that bout happening, and shortly thereafter, Woodley elected to undergo shoulder surgery.
Meanwhile, Diaz recently teased a UFC return in May or June in a social media post. The Stockton, Calif., native hasn’t fought since losing a majority decision to Conor McGregor at UFC 202 in August 2016.
In terms of worthy contenders at welterweight, Diaz would rank far below ex-lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos, who has bested Robbie Lawler, Neil Magny and Tarec Saffiedine since making the move to 170 pounds. Woodley told ESPN that he is willing to face an opponent such as dos Anjos, but it sounds like a high-profile clash with Diaz would interest him more.
"I just want to do something that's going to push me forward career-wise or push my legacy," Woodley said. "I need both. I need super fights and I need to continue to knock off these rising contenders. I've been fighting the best of the best since Strikeforce. It's not like I'm asking for anything that I haven't paid my dues for. I had to earn this position the hard way.”