Former UFC welterweight title challenger, Nick Diaz appears to be edging closer than ever to an Octagon return for the first time since January of 2015, with promotional president, Dana White, changing his tune on a potential Octagon return, claiming it’s appearing more promising that the Stockton native will return to active competition this year.
Diaz, a former WEC welterweight champion and the undisputed Strikeforce welterweight best, has yet to feature since UFC 183, where he dropped an eventual ‘No Contest’ against former middleweight champion, Anderson Silva after he returned a positive test result for marijuana metabolites, whilst Silva tested positive for drostanolone and androsterone.
In the six years since his last Octagon walk, Diaz has continuously been linked with a potential return to active competition, with a pairing against two-time welterweight title challenger, Jorge Masvidal briefly floated prior to the Miami native’s clash with Nick’s younger brother, Nate Diaz — who returns to the Octagon himself this weekend in Glendale, Arizona in a high-stakes welterweight showdown against the #3 ranked, Leon Edwards.
In September of last year, Diaz’s manager, Kevin Mubenga confirmed that the Stockton veteran was gunning for an Octagon return for the first time since January of 2015, and how he had undergone a rigorous test weight cut to the welterweight limit following a training regiment. Mubenga confirmed that Diaz was interested in a return to the welterweight division, and that there was a “99.9%” chance his client would fight in 2021.
Appearing at UFC 261 in April in Jacksonville, Florida — Diaz met with the above-mentioned, White, who then questioned Diaz’s desire to actually make a return to the Octagon following their meeting backstage after the event.
“It went good,” White spoke of the meeting with Diaz. “My whole thing with Nick Diaz is I just question how bad he really wants to fight. We got together, we had a great conversation, talked about a possible comeback for him. I just don’t know. We’ll see how it plays out this summer and the rest of the year.“
“Just the amount of time that he’s taken off already,” White explained. “When you hear him talk about fighting, you hear him talk about the sport, and I sit down daily or talk to daily (with) hungry, young savages, they want to break into the top-ten, become world champions, all that stuff.Nick Diaz has done it all, seen it all, he’s been in big fights, I just don’t see that in him when I talk to him.“
However, during a recent interview with UFC Arabia reporter, Farah Hannoun, White appears to have changed his tune on a potential comeback for Diaz, claiming that it’s looking quite promising that the 37-year-old will fight sometime this year, and that the UFC matchmaking team have held talks with him.
“Yeah I wasn’t very high on (him coming back),” White said. “I didn’t think that it would happen. But it looks like it will. It looks like Nick (Diaz) will fight this year. It looks like it’s going to happen, so we’ll see.“
“The matchmakers have (discussed a comeback with Diaz),” White replied when asked if he had spoken with Diaz further about a return. “But I don’t know where we’re at on it. But it’s looking promising.“
With a professional record of 26-9, Diaz, who had enjoyed two separate stints under the UFC’s banner, has notched notable career triumphs over the likes of Chris Lytle, Robbie Lawler, Josh Neer, Gleison Tibau, Frank Shamrock, Marius Zaromskis, KJ Noons, Evangelista Santos, Paul Daley, and, B.J. Penn.