On Friday night, Cesar Gracie confirmed what most of us had always suspected: that Nick Diaz's "retirement" wouldn't stick. In a statement posted on GracieFighter.com, Gracie, who trains and manages Diaz, acknowledged that the 28-year-old former Strikeforce champ would return to the UFC octagon whenever he regains a fighter's license. That's not so surprising. But what he said later on? Well, that was the interesting part.
Gracie said the request will be "respectfully" made and that Diaz simply wants to test himself against the longtime champ.
"Silva’s camp has been speaking of a fight with GSP, possibly even at a catch weight," he wrote. "Nick will take that fight in a minute but has told me that should Silva decide not to drop at all, he will move up to 185lbs to face the Champ."
Objectively, Diaz seems an unlikely candidate to get the slot. Not only will he be coming off his second drug suspension at the hands of the Nevada state athletic commission (NSAC), but he also lost his last match in the controversial UFC 143 main event against Carlos Condit.
In the meantime, the complexion of the UFC's middleweight division has changed significantly, aided by the rise of Chris Weidman alongside the growth of veterans Alan Belcher and Tim Boetsch. At the same time, there's no denying that Diaz is one of the most intriguing personalities in mixed martial arts, as well as a major fighting talent.
Gracie said that he is expecting to meet with UFC president Dana White on August 6 to discuss Diaz's future. But Diaz's future is mostly out of White's hands for the time being, as long as Diaz remains suspended. The penalty handed down by NSAC makes him ineligible to reapply for a license until February 2013. But Gracie said he will contest that ruling through legal means in hopes of overturning the decision.
"To address the NSAC suspension, I will say that we have appealed to the courts and if things go our way, it will be plausible that Nick could return as early as sometime at the end of this year," he wrote. "For too long NSAC bureaucrats have acted with malicious incompetence towards the fighters. We will challenge them in court."
For now, Diaz remains in a state of limbo. The possibility of fighting Silva seems slim, but at least we know for sure that at some point, Diaz will be back competing in the cage.