Dana White is living proof that good things come to those who wait, especially after the patience he exhibited for Nick Diaz. Now the UFC president is on the brink of a superfight pitting MMA’s most controversial star against the greatest fighter in UFC history, Anderson Silva.
Diaz has sat idly on the sidelines ever since announcing his retirement after losing to Georges St-Pierre just over a year ago. Every vain attempt made by White and the UFC to get the former Strikeforce welterweight champ to return did more harm than good.
During an interview with the Boxing Channel’s Marcos Villegas (h/t Fight Hub TV), Diaz asked to be bought out of his UFC contract since the promotion would not renegotiate a new deal.
When speaking with MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani, Diaz explained that he would only return if the UFC offered him a title shot against Johny Hendricks or a $500,000 base payout for agreeing to fight a top contender.
White thought the deal was too rich for Diaz’s blood, especially considering he was coming off back-to-back decision losses. Besides, there was already a murderers' row of contenders lined up for a title shot. How fair would it be to just allow Diaz to cut in line?
At a post-fight media scrum in May, White told reporters that the UFC would “keep rolling” with or without Nick Diaz.
The working relationship between Diaz and the UFC seemed like a wrap after White’s comments, until Silva’s name crept into the equation. The former UFC middleweight champ has been plotting his return ever since a gruesome leg injury nearly ended his career back in December 2013.
During an appearance on UFC Tonight (h/t MMA Weekly), Silva’s manager Ed Soares stated that Silva felt Diaz was a good return opponent for early 2015. Diaz echoed Silva’s sentiment on the show, stating that he would take the fight if the money was right.
In any case, White is just happy that Diaz may finally be ready to come back to work.
“If that’s what it’ll take to get Nick to fight again. I know [Silva's team] wants it, so we'll see what happens,” White told reporters at the UFC 174 press conference. “Anderson wants to fight Nick. Nick wants to fight Anderson. Why would I say no?”
At 39 years old, it’s unlikely Silva would consider dropping to 170 pounds to fight Diaz, according to White. The bout is more likely to take place at a catch weight or middleweight.
“I think it’d be tough for Anderson to make 170 [pounds],” said White. “A few years ago he was saying he could do it, but I don't know about now. You’re not getting any younger.”
Jordy McElroy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA writer for Rocktagon.
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