The last time we saw Nick Diaz in the Octagon, he was on the losing end of a unanimous decision, falling short in a bid to dethrone welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre on March 16 of this year.
That loss, in the main event of UFC 158, led Diaz to tell Joe Rogan in his post-fight in-cage interview, “I think I’m going to have to figure out whether I want to keep doing this. To be honest, I don’t really think I got any more. I don’t want to make excuses. I think I’m done with mixed martial arts. I’m tired of getting banged up like this.” And just like that it seemed like Diaz’s MMA career had come to a close after 36 professional fights.
Fast-forward to the early morning hours of July 7, and that retirement talk seemed to be a little less than final.
Following UFC 162, UFC president Dana White revealed that Diaz had contacted him and was looking for a fight. "He said (he) broke up with his girlfriend, wants to fight, 'Dana, get me a fight.’ Nick Diaz is under contract with the UFC. Whenever Nick Diaz wants a fight, I'd be more than happy to get him a fight."
Since then it seems as if there has been additional contact between the two sides. Diaz’s trainer and manager, Cesar Gracie, took to BJPenn.com Radio and revealed:
As far as his fighting and everything. He’s been in Vegas, he just got back a few days ago. There is an offer on the table, that’s all I can say. It’s something everyone is looking at right now and discussing with him. Dana has offered him a fight. There is an offer on the table, I can’t say who it is, but it’s kind of neat I think. But no decisions have been made for sure.
Do you want to see Nick Diaz return to the UFC?
At this point, it seems like the ball is in Diaz’s court. Diaz (26-9-0-1) was on an 11-fight winning streak before losing his last two fights by unanimous decision. In addition to the St-Pierre defeat, he dropped a fight to Carlos Condit at UFC 143 for the interim welterweight title. That fight took place while St-Pierre was recovering from knee surgery. Despite the two consecutive losses, and the talk of hanging up his gloves, Diaz remains ranked sixth in the division.
I will say, for most fighters, this type of talk would result in a fight being booked, but this is Nick Diaz we’re talking about here. Diaz has always marched to the beat of his own drum. Until he walks into the cage on fight night, there are never any guarantees.
It’s that personality that has made Diaz one of the most divisive figures in the sport today. The talk that he is thinking about returning to MMA will most likely be greeted with something nearing euphoria from his fans, and at best extreme displeasure from his detractors. Either way, people will be talking about Nick Diaz.
Update: Gracie claimed via Twitter that he was misquoted by BJ Penn Radio, but a second listen to the audio revealed Gracie was not misquoted. The quote above is verbatim from the audio interview.