UFC stalwart Nate Diaz did not have the ending to his much anticipated return to the Octagon that he wanted, but the welterweight’s coach Cesar Gracie has just dropped the bombshell.
Gracie has said that Diaz is aiming to return to the cage this year for the second time, and he is aiming to go back to his long-lost rival- Conor McGregor and wants a trilogy fight with the Irishman.
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The Stockton native, who was defeated by Jorge Masvidal back at UFC 244 in November 2019, broke his hiatus after a year and eight months to face Leon Edwards at UFC 263 last weekend.
Although Diaz kept his ground and survived all five rounds at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona, the 36-year-old did not garner the judges’ favor as Edwards was announced the winner via unanimous decision.
Following the fight, fellow UFC welterweight star Demian Maia called out Diaz to face him in the cage.
However, Diaz’s coach Cesar Gracie, who has also mentored Nick Diaz, insisted that facing Maia, who is now in his 40s, makes no sense, no matter the outcome of the fight, despite praising the Brazilian for his jiu-jitsu knowledge.
“I know there has been speculation on whether Nate will accept the fight with Demian Maia. Although I have not yet talked to Nate about his thoughts on this fight, I can tell you that I am completely against the idea,” Gracie said in a message to MMA Fighting.
“Demian has been a great representative of Brazilian jiu-jitsu on the mat and in MMA. He has accomplished much and we all respect him. He is still a dangerous opponent but I don’t feel Nate has anything to gain from this fight,” the coach went on, “If he were to lose, he would be losing to a 44-year-old that is on his way out of the sport and if he won it would be to a 44-year-old man that is leaving the sport. It is a no-win situation.”
Gracie insisted that Diaz should be facing Conor McGregor up next and complete his trilogy with the former UFC double champ.
“I would think the trilogy versus [Conor] McGregor. I know that Nate wants tough fights. He is motivated by fighting the best guys,” Gracie added.
The two MMA icon’s first encounter dates back to March 2016 at UFC 196, when Diaz gave McGregor his first loss in the UFC with a rear naked choke. McGregor, however, avenged his loss in the immediate rematch at UFC 202 in August the same year, winning via majority decision.