Nick Diaz Will Not Step Right into a Title Shot When He Returns
UFC president Dana White has confirmed that former Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz will have a long climb back to title contention after he returns from suspension.
Diaz re-signed with the UFC last year, looking for a marquee fight against Georges St. Pierre, but a series of mishaps scuppered those plans.
The worst of which was Diaz testing positive for marijuana metabolites following his fight against Carlos Condit, his second such offence, resulting in a year-long ban.
Since then, the welterweight division has changed considerably, with new contenders vying for a shot at the belt. The result of which is, according to a Wednesday conference call with White (H/T MMA fighting), that Diaz will have to face other opponents on his return before he is given a shot at GSP.
“When Diaz gets off of suspension, he'll probably fight against one of the top guys at 170 lbs, and then we'll see what happens,” said White.
Diaz's fight against the Canadian champion was originally set for UFC 137 last October, but the turbulent Stockton-native missed two press conferences and was dropped from the card.
In his place, Condit was promoted to the No. 1 contender's spot. However, GSP then suffered an ACL injury, which pushed Diaz and Condit to fight each other instead—a fight Diaz ultimately lost.
Since that time, the welterweight division has been shaken up by the likes of Johny Hendricks, who is on a four-fight win streak including Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck, claiming a shot at the title.
White did not speculate who Diaz’s opponent will be when he returns to MMA, but with the fighter not due to return until next February, the field is wide open.
Several fighters are coming off impressive wins, not including Hendricks. Martin Kampmann, Jon Fitch and Demian Maia have all fought impressively in their last fights and could be potential opponents.
But the other consideration for Diaz’s chances of fighting MMA superstar GSP is the fact that the Canadian is set to fight Condit at UFC 154 in November. And even if St. Pierre wins that fight, there is already talk of an even more lucrative fight between the nine-time welterweight champion and Anderson Silva.
For now, however, White concedes that a Diaz/GSP fight is still a possibility.
"A lot of people still want to see that fight," said the UFC president.
Khurram Aziz a featured columnist for B/R. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @khurramaziz1981
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