Nate Diaz may have found a new combat sports home in the land of the rising sun.
After 15 years under the UFC banner, Diaz completed his contract with a submission victory over Tony Ferguson at UFC 279 in September. Since then, virtually everyone has been speculating what Diaz would do next. While most people suspected Diaz would dive into the world of boxing with fights against either Floyd Mayweather or Jake Paul, it looks as though people with RIZIN Fighting Federation on their Nate Diaz bingo card might be the winners.
Taking to Twitter, the Stockton Samurai shared a promotional image for the Japanese fight company, giving fans another possibility to ponder.
— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) January 5, 2023
MMA Mania reported that they had reached out to the promotion for comment on Diaz’s post. RIZIN responded, confirming that they have had detailed talks with Diaz’s management, saying:
“RIZIN is definitely interested and has already spoken to Nate’s manager, following his free agency and specific numbers have been brought up,” the promotion revealed.
Nate Diaz Could Be RIZIN FF’s Ticket to a Presence in the North American Market
While RIZIN FF is far from a household name at this point, the promotion has made great strides in recent years, hosting bouts with boxing icon Floyd Mayweather. On New Year’s Eve, the promotion went toe-to-toe with the fighters of Bellator MMA in a well-received cross-promotional event. That same night, RIZIN announced that they had signed another boxing legend, Manny Pacquiao.
RIZIN FF president Nobuyuki Sakakibara recognizes that focusing solely on the Japanese market is no longer feasible when it comes to growing the brand. Nate Diaz could be just what the doctor ordered for a potential expansion into the North American market.
“Nick and Nate, they both have a great personality, their fighting style is very exciting, and we’ve known them since the PRIDE days,” Sakakibara said on BROADENED HORIZIN in October. “We had Nick fight in PRIDE before and we’ve known them from way back. So, if we were to do something with Floyd again, we always have to talk about an opponent.
“We do think we’re at a point where we can’t just only focus on the Japanese market anymore,” he continued. “We have to target the international audience. So, with that said, Floyd’s opponent doesn’t have to be a Japanese fighter anymore. It’s just one possibility thinking about the future. Not only Floyd’s opponent, but Nate Diaz as an individual has a great amount of character, fight style, and a great following internationally. So, as an individual, he would definitely be somebody we’d be interested to be talking to”