UFC lightweight Nate Diaz was reportedly booked for a welterweight title shot against Tyron Woodley and everyone in the mixed martial arts (MMA) community was like, “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”
Not as dumb as this, but still pretty dumb.
Partly because Diaz was coming off a loss and hadn’t competed in over a year, but mostly because the sassy and grassy Stocktonite isn’t even ranked in the top five of his own division, let alone the one above him.
Turns out the UFC 219 pairing was never official. In fact, promotion president Dana White claims he never even had the conversation with his matchmakers and shifted blame to one of his nameless attorneys for going into business for himself.
From Tuesday’s media scrum (transcribed by Sports JOE):
“One of our attorneys here started playing matchmaker and said he has a good rapport with the Diaz brothers and he basically said, ‘what if you could fight Tyron Woodley?’ Me and Sean (Shelby) were like, ‘How does he deserve to fight Tyron Woodley? There’s a fucking list of guys that are waiting to fight Tyron Woodley and this dude’s gonna fight… what are you talking about?’ So he kind of went off the reservation a little bit and started playing matchmaker. That’s why you started hearing Woodley saying ‘I got offered a fight with Nate Diaz’ and we’re like, ‘No, there was never a fight.’ Woodley’s been talking about, ‘I need shoulder surgery. I need shoulder surgery,’ and then he’s like, ‘I’ll fight Nate Diaz’ and starts calling him out and shit.’ It was a nightmare. None of that was true.”
Woodley (18-3-1) is coming off a boring unanimous decision win over aging jiu-jitsu ace Demian Maia at the UFC 214 pay-per-view (PPV) back in July, his first title defense after a couple of showdowns against Stephen Thompson.
Diaz, meanwhile, won’t get out of bed for less than $15 million.
The next 170-pound title contender is likely to be decided here; however, Woodley is expected to have shoulder surgery in the coming weeks and could be out of action until spring of 2018.