UFC 137 Fight Card: What a Win Would Mean for Nick Diaz

Andrew BarrCorrespondent IOctober 29, 2011

Nick Diaz is set to make his long-awaited return to the UFC later today, after being released from the promotion back in 2006.

Diaz is returning in style, headlining UFC 137 alongside the most dangerous opponent Diaz will ever have stepped into the cage with, B.J. Penn.

There has been a lot of hype surrounding Diaz heading into this fight, but for all the people building him up, there have been just as many fans screaming that he's overrated.

It's not hard to see why people think Diaz is overrated—he's already had his shot in the UFC and been cut and since then he has not competed against a top-10 opponent.

So, a win this evening for Nick Diaz means a lot of things, but, above all, it means validation.

If Diaz defeats Penn tonight, especially if he beats him in convincingly fashion, he will prove to the entire world that he really is one of the best fighters on the planet and that he deserves to be in the UFC.

A win for Diaz also means that he'll finally get his crack at the UFC welterweight championship and the chance to prove that he is the best 170-pound fighter in the world.

Diaz was originally scheduled to fight Georges St-Pierre for the UFC's welterweight strap at this event, but was pulled from the title fight after no-showing two press conferences.

Though he was frustrated with Diaz at first, UFC president Dana White seems to have forgiven the former Strikeforce welterweight champ, as he has confirmed that a win tonight would guarantee Diaz a title shot.

If he beats Penn tonight, it means that Diaz will silence all his haters, show the world he can compete with the elite of the elite, and earn back his title shot.

Can Diaz actually beat Penn, though? Tune into the fights tonight and find out.

Andrew Barr is a Featured Columnist for BleacherReport.com. For updates on what's happening in the world of MMA, follow him on Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/AndrewBarr8.