If he could unceremoniously call it quits after UFC 154 and then return to fall to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 158, who's to say that Nick Diaz won't retire and then eventually return to MMA at his own leisure, a la Brett Favre?
Truth be told, however, Diaz fought valiantly against St-Pierre and will most likely get a shot against another top-flight welterweight in his next scrap. Studs the ilk of Martin Kampmann, Rory MacDonald and Jake Ellenberger would serve as fine suitors for "The Stockton Bad Boy"—if he chooses to continue competing.
But what if Diaz, who's continually pegged as the villain, truly has taken one too many beatings, both psychologically and physiologically. And what if, among many other issues, he's genuinely fed up with the judges and their emphasis on wrestling in MMA?
If Diaz's relationship with the sport really has soured and he decides to hang up his gloves, in what light will pundits and fans remember the former Strikeforce champ?
Extraordinarily ambiguous, as usual, Diaz attempted to explain his future plans in the sport at the post-fight press conference for UFC 158 by saying the following:
I could sit here and make a million excuses about why I wasn't ready for this fight, but the only reason why I'm here right now is I want a rematch. I think I can beat [St-Pierre]. That's what I think. I think I may be a better matchup for Anderson Silva, as well, but we'll see what happens. I didn't have a good first round or a good performance tonight. But I carried out a lot of my plan and what I wanted to do. I just think that I could have been a little better prepared for this fight. I think maybe next time if I did get an extra shot, I think that people would try to help me out a little bit.
If Diaz never competed again, he'd be remembered more for his controversial antics than his tremendous work ethic or his amazing aptitude for delivering and absorbing punishment.
Even though Diaz has scored impressive wins over the likes of Robbie Lawler, Paul Daley and B.J. Penn, among many others, his name may always ring synonymous with controversy in the realm of MMA.
The Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu pupil had tarnished his image long before suffering back-to-back losses to Condit and St-Pierre, failing a pair of drug tests, and missing a press conference before his first scheduled tilt with GSP.
So rather than remembering Diaz for his 11-fight winning streak, which spanned between May 2008 and October 2011, or for his memorable battles in Strikeforce, his critics now have the leverage to first bring up his downfalls.
But nothing's set in stone yet for the 29-year-old Californian, who could still overshadow his bad-boy persona by fulfilling his contract with the UFC and attempting to win a title with dignity.
If Diaz can't stay in the sport without attempting to perpetually belittle and bait upper-echelon opponents, he'll surely go down in history as one of the most controversial and misunderstood figures who's ever graced the Octagon.