Dana White: Nate Diaz versus Jake Paul 'makes sense'

Diaz has called repeatedly for the UFC to deliver what is understood to be final fight on current contract

Nate Diaz punches Leon Edwards in their welterweight fight during the UFC 263 in Arizona. Zuffa LLC
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Dana White says a fight between Nate Diaz and social media star Jake Paul “makes sense”, although the UFC president said the promotion will secure the agitated Californian another bout.

On Monday, Diaz once more called upon the UFC to either book him a fight – he is believed to have one bout left on his current deal – or release him from his contract. Posting to his Twitter account, Diaz included a video of Paul knocking out former UFC champion Tyron Woodley in their crossover clash in December.

When asked late on Tuesday about a potential match-up between Diaz and Paul, White told prominent MMA website TheMacLife: “I like Nate. Let’s be honest, Nate’s won one fight in the last five or six years. When these guys get into these positions... you’ve got guys that have been with us for a long time, that we respect, that we care about.

“You’ve got [Donald] Cerrone and Anthony Pettis before he left, and you’ve got Nate Diaz and Nick Diaz is still under contract with us. So you want to be fair to everybody, you want to do the right things or whatever. Nate Diaz isn’t going to come in and fight [welterweight champion and current No 1 pound-for-pound athlete] Kamaru Usman.

“So listen, we’re trying to do the best we can. We’re trying not to [expletive] on anybody and disrespect anybody, but it’s not like we’re talking about Kamaru Usman here. We’re talking about Nate Diaz. Nate’s won one fight in five years, so we’re trying to figure this thing out with him. He probably should go on and fight Jake Paul. That’s a fight that makes sense.”

White added: “Listen, contractually we’ve got to get him a fight. We’ll get him a fight.”

Diaz, who remains one of the most popular fighters in the sport, then responded on social media, tweeting: “Send the release” with emojis hinting at a boxing bout with Paul.

Paul was quick to react, too, doubling down on his repeated criticism of the UFC. The YouTube star moved into exhibition boxing in 2018 and has gone on to fight Ben Askren - another former UFC athlete - and Woodley, twice.

Paul is set to headline a boxing event at Madison Square Garden in New York on August 6. His opponent is yet to be announced.

Early on Wednesday, he tweeted: “Dana - I’m happy to be Nate’s last fight in UFC. You know the terms: pay fighters more and give them healthcare. Sweetener: I will fight for free.”

Diaz, 37, has not fought since his unanimous decision loss to Leon Edwards at UFC 263 in June last year. His most recent victory was in August 2019, when he defeated Pettis. He has since lost twice, with his overall professional mixed martial arts record currently at 20-13.

Updated: June 22, 2022, 8:30 AM
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