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‘Free Nate’: Henry Cejudo supports Diaz in standoff with UFC

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Nate Diaz has made it abundantly clear all year that he’s ready to fight, but the UFC has yet to grant him his wish.

The specific reasons for Diaz’s prolonged absence aren’t clear, but it’s almost certainly related to the fact that the mercurial star has only one fight remaining on his UFC contract. Whatever the dispute, it’s reached the point where Diaz has outright asked the UFC to release him and even dared the promotion to do so by posting a picture of himself purporting to urinate in front of the UFC Apex.

And it has former two-division champion Henry Cejudo, who’s no stranger to being unhappy with Dana White and the UFC, wondering what’s going on behind the scenes.

“I think if they keep him, they really want to entice him with a good pay check and if they don’t keep him, they want to give him a shark, so that that’s that’s what we’re looking at,” Cejudo said on “The Triple C & Schmo Show.” “I don’t know what the UFC is thinking, but that’s kind of my take on that.”

Diaz, 37, most recently competed in June 2021 when he lost a unanimous decision to Leon Edwards. Diaz openly has said he would fight established veterans Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler, but to Cejudo’s point, it could be that the UFC is holding firm on wanting to pair him with Khamzat Chimaev, a matchup that recently was seen listed on the board of the UFC’s matchmaking room.

Ultimately, though, Cejudo would like to see the UFC do right by Diaz (20-13 MMA, 15-11 UFC) and get him a fight he’s on board with so he can move on.

“Free Nate, man,” Cejudo said. “If you’re not gonna give him a fight, dude, free him. Let him be or he could run out his contract, you know? I think every fighter has a contract where they’re literally able if they don’t get a certain amount of fights per year. Like you could literally run it out, dude, so it’s a trip.”