'I've been doing a whole lot of not getting punched around-type stuff,' Diaz said Thursday afternoon at UFC headquarters. 'I've been staying in shape pretty good, doing a lot of running. It's been a good experience having this much time off.'
The target for Diaz and the UFC is to get him back in the cage early next year, but the confident 30-year-old fighter said he'd be ready to fight tomorrow.
UFC President Dana White tweeted out a photo of him and Diaz after the welterweight star signed his contract:
Fox Sports' Mike Chiappetta is happy to see Diaz back in UFC:
I'm glad Nick Diaz got paid. Used the only leverage he had & got his renegotiation on his terms. Good for him.— Mike Chiappetta MMA (@MikeChiappetta) July 24, 2014
Diaz's goal is to fight in early 2015. Everything else beyond that would likely be contingent on the success of that fight.
The 30-year-old already has a potential opponent in mind for his return bout:
'I'd like to fight for the title,' Diaz said. 'I think that would be a big deal and worth fighting for. I want fights that will lead to a title fight. Whoever is in line and whoever has the title, that's who I'm going to be fighting.
'I'd be interested in fighting [Anderson Silva] and anything that's going to do well,' he continued. 'As far as Anderson Silva, I think that would be a great fight for people to see because he has my type of style.'
MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani was told by a source that Diaz's first fight back in UFC will most likely be against Anderson Silva if everything goes according to plan, via MMAFighting.com's Dave Doyle.
White, however, tweeted out that no movement has been made on a potential bout between Diaz and Silva.
There is no update on Anderson vs Diaz. Anderson can't fight till Feb. Lorenzo and I have not even talked to Anderson.— Dana White (@danawhite) July 24, 2014
Fantasy Wired's Matt Brown believes that a Diaz-Silva fight could draw more interest than any previous fight between two guys on losing streaks:
IF they made the Diaz vs. Silva fight…biggest fight in the history of MMA between guys each on two fight losing streaks?— Matt Brown (@MattBrownM2) July 24, 2014
Diaz lost his last two fights before going into semi-retirement. He was defeated by both Carlos Condit and Georges St-Pierre by unanimous decision.
That fact is largely immaterial at the moment. UFC is suffering from a lack of star power.
The company could once call upon any number of top fighters to headline a major pay-per-view, but fans are growing tired of either seeing the same guys battling one another, or the converse is watching fighters unworthy of title shots getting main events on the biggest shows of the year.
Fighting Silva would allow Diaz to prove himself as a viable title contender, while simultaneously giving UFC a bankable star to headline future PPVs.