Nick Diaz's manager said Saturday that the former UFC welterweight star will not have a UFC return fight against Khamzat Chimaev.
According to ESPN's Ariel Helwani, Kevin Mubenga said the following with regard to Chimaev: "He's a good prospect, respectfully, but he hasn't earned the right to a mega-fight vs. Nick Diaz. So let's put those rumors to rest."
The 37-year-old Diaz is preparing for a UFC return after having not fought since UFC 183 in January 2015.
Diaz was the original Strikeforce welterweight champion before making the leap to UFC and winning his UFC debut against B.J. Penn at UFC 137.
He went winless in his next three fights, however, losing to Carlos Condit and Georges St-Pierre, and then falling to Anderson Silva, although the Silva fight was later ruled a no-contest since Silva tested positive for illegal substances and Diaz tested positive for marijuana.
The Silva fight was Diaz's first bout in nearly two years, but he was suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission after the fight because of his positive marijuana test. The suspension was lifted in 2016, however, Diaz resisted a return to competition.
In December, Mubenga said there was a 99.999 percent chance that Diaz would return to fight in 2021, ending a six-year absence from the Octagon.
The 27-year-old Chimaev is one of the fastest-rising stars in MMA, as he owns a 9-0 record with six wins by way of knockout and three submissions.
He most recently fought on the UFC Fight Night: Covington vs. Woodley card in September 2020, beating Gerald Meerschaert by first-round knockout.
Chimaev temporarily retired in March after dealing with complications from a COVID-19 diagnosis, but he later announced that he was not retired.
Diaz would undoubtedly be the biggest opponent of Chimaev's career to date, but based on his manager's comments, it is clear that Diaz is looking for his return bout to be against a more established fighter with greater name recognition.