Nate Diaz is not going to want for options during his free agency period.
At UFC 279, Diaz completed his promotional contract, going out on a high note by submitting Tony Ferguson in the fourth round of the main event. Following the win, Diaz said he planned to leave the UFC to “show all these UFC fighters how to take over and own up another sport” which most interpret to mean he will pursue a much talked about boxing match against Jake Paul. Diaz also said he intends to return to the UFC afterwards to get a UFC belt, which he called “the best title in the world.” But Scott Coker hopes to have something to say about that.
The CEO of Bellator MMA, Coker has a long history promoting Diaz’s older brother Nick Diaz back in the Strikeforce days, and speaking with reporters ahead of Bellator Dublin this weekend (h/t/ BBC Sport), Coker revealed that Bellator is already in talks with the younger Diaz brother.
“We are definitely talking to him. We’ve reached out,” Coker said. “I know he’s probably talking to everybody. He’s in a pretty good situation. I know he wants to fight Jake Paul. Jake Paul is fighting Anderson Silva on Showtime pay-per-view, which is our home network, so there’s some synergies here. We’re just hoping that we could have some type of deal to at least have his MMA fights with Bellator. So we are in dialogue.”
Signing a big name free agent like Diaz is nothing new for Coker. In recent years, Bellator MMA has signed a number of high-profile fighters from the UFC, most notably former women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg; however, Bellator is far from the only promotion interested in Diaz’s services. One of the biggest stars in the sport, both the BKFC and the PFL have already stated their intent to pursue Stockton’s finest, and there’s also the possibility that Diaz will simply choose to remain independent. After all, prior to UFC 279, Diaz lamented his restrictive deal with the UFC, saying he felt like the promotion was holding him hostage, and with a lucrative fight with Paul looming, and his own nascent promotion, Real Fight, Inc., starting, Diaz may decide choose to continue betting on himself for the foreseeable future.