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Nate Diaz returns to face Michael Johnson at UFC on FOX 17

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Nate Diaz will resume fighting inside the cage before the end of the year.

The popular Diaz meets Michael Johnson at UFC on FOX 17 on Dec. 19, it was announced Monday night on FOX Sports Live.

Diaz (17-10) has not been in the Octagon since a unanimous decision loss to now-champion Rafael dos Anjos last December. However, he was involved in an altercation along with his brother Nick against fellow UFC lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov and others at a World Series of Fighting event earlier this month. Diaz, 30, owns wins over Donald Cerrone, Jim Miller and Gray Maynard in his career. The Stockton, Calif., native has lost three of his last four fights.

Johnson (16-9) won four straight before a controversial split decision loss to Beneil Dariush earlier this month. "The Menace" has emerged lately as one of the top lightweights in the UFC. Johnson, 29, owns wins over Edson Barboza, Joe Lauzon and Tony Ferguson. He trains out of the Blackzilians in Boca Raton, Fla.

UFC on FOX 17 will be headlined by a lightweight title fight between champion Rafael dos Anjos and Donald Cerrone. Also on the card, C.B. Dollaway will meet Nate Marquardt. It will be the UFC's second show in Florida this year and second straight year going to Orlando.