UFC suffered a big blow over the weekend when featherweight champion Max Holloway revealed he has a leg injury that will scratch him from the UFC 222 main event on March 3 against Frankie Edgar.
The UFC is still hunting an opponent to headline UFC 222. T.J. Dillashaw, a bantamweight champion turned down a short-notice fight against former champ Cody Garbrandt. Holloway’s original opponent, former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, wants to remain on the card. UFC appears to be trying to set up a fight between Edgar and Brian Ortega. Even Cody Garbrandt showed interest in Edgar.
Over the weekend, Nate Diaz proclaimed himself, “The Real Champ,” and gone on record by saying he is ready to end his lengthy absence from the UFC octagon and interested in saving the UFC 222 main card when he told LA Times’, Lance Pugmire.
Under the circumstances, Diaz, a marquee name whose octagon return is long overdue and highly-anticipated, seems like a good option to have for the headline at UFC 222.
White isn’t buying it.
UFC president Dana White said in a text message to Pugmire on Monday night that Nate Diaz is not an option. He also issued the statement to the journalist that he said as recently as last week about Diaz fighting again soon:
“He [Diaz] doesn’t want to fight. We have made around five or six fights in the last six months, and he has turned them all down. [Eddie] Alvarez, [Justin] Gaethje, [Edson] Barboza and [interim lightweight champion Tony] Ferguson multiple times.”
Certainly, on being asked about Eddie, Daiz said he has no interest in a potential fight with former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez.
White could be telling the truth. Perhaps Diaz doesn’t want to fight. Although, the evidence supports the idea that for the right price, he’d be willing to return to the UFC Octagon.