The UFC lightweight contender and commentator Paul Felder said that he is not the mystery opponent of Nate Diaz but would definitely love to fight him.
Earlier this week White said he’s attempting to put together a fight for Diaz (20-12 MMA, 15-10 UFC) that should have the MMA community very excited and would put him in a prominent position going forward. Moreover, he said the matchup would be at lightweight, where Diaz has not fought since December 2015.
Paul Felder on Nate Diaz Fight
After White’s comments, speculation became rampant about who would fit the description he teased. Felder (17-6 MMA, 9-6 UFC) said he received countless messages questioning if he’s part of the plan but verified on Thursday that it’s not him – despite his hopes otherwise.
“I’ve had so many people tag me saying, ‘UFC in the works: Paul Felder vs. Nate Diaz,’” Felder told reporters, including MMA Junkie, during media availability. “I’m like, ‘When are they going to call me and tell me about that?’ You want to talk about motivation and getting excited? I would absolutely love that fight.
“Like (Dan) Hooker even said, I would fight him at ’85, at 205 – it doesn’t matter. That’s a fight you take. Nate’s a legend at this point. I would love that fight. But now, it’s not me. I wish it was me.”
Diaz made no appearances last year after fighting twice in 2019, where he defeated Anthony Pettis by unanimous decision at UFC 241 and then lost to Jorge Masvidal by third-round doctor stoppage in a battle for the “BMF” belt at UFC 244. Those were Diaz’s only two fights since 2016, the year that saw him skyrocket in popularity thanks to two high-profile duels with Conor McGregor.
Suffice to say, Diaz will likely be looking for another marquee opponent when he returns and while Felder would jump at the chance to be that name, he wonders if a matchup with a top contender like Justin Gaethje is more likely to be in the works for Diaz.
One thing Felder won’t do is take the fight on less than a week’s notice, which he did in his most recent outing to save a Nov. 14 main event when a staph infection knocked Islam Makhachev out of a meeting with Rafael dos Anjos. Felder dropped a decision to dos Anjos and while he’s proud that he went the distance with a tough opponent, that kind of short-notice move isn’t something he’s planning to repeat.
Ideally, his next fight will still be against someone in or around the UFC’s top-10. Felder doesn’t expect to be in the mix for the lightweight title at the moment with the likes of Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor, Dan Hooker, Michael Chandler, Oliveira, and Gaethje just yet, but he still hopes to compete for a UFC championship before his career is through and that mission resumes once he ends his current skid.
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