Nate Diaz returns after two-year layoff to fight Dustin Poirier at UFC 230 in NYC

Nate Diaz (Getty Images)

After two-record breaking showdowns in 2016 with Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz said he would only return if the fight was right. It may not be Conor McGregor, but the right guy has emerged to draw Diaz out of his two-year hiatus.

The Los Angeles Times reported late Thursday night that Diaz will return to battle top lightweight contender Dustin Poirier at UFC 230 at Madison Square Garden in New York on November 3. Sources confirmed the matchup to Sporting News. An official announcement is expected to be made on Friday at a press conference in Los Angeles. No main event has been announced as of this writing.

Diaz (19-11), who is one of the top attractions in the sport, hasn’t competed since he lost the rematch to McGregor via majority decision in August 2016 at UFC 202. The 33-year-old beat McGregor by second-round submission at UFC 196 in March 2016. The first McGregor fight set the UFC record, generating 1.6 pay-per-view buys. The rematch eclipsed the buyrate of UFC 196, with 1.65 million. Both fights would have beaten the Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir rematch at UFC 100 in July 2009 and still stand as the two biggest UFC PPVs of all-time.

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Since UFC 202, the UFC has offered Diaz numerous opponents, including former middleweight and welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre at this weekend’s UFC 227, but nothing came to fruition.

Poirier (24-5, one no-contest) recently defeated Eddie Alvarez by second-round TKO at UFC on Fox 30 for his third consecutive win. He said during the post-fight press conference that he wouldn’t be picking up the phone from the UFC unless it was for a championship fight. Facing Diaz is as close as you will get to a title shot since champion Khabib Nurmagomoedov and Conor McGregor are rumored to square off later this year.