When news surfaced about Nick Diaz’s plans to return in early 2021, it was met with a lot of questions—most notably, is it actually going to happen this time?
Count UFC President Dana White among those who are skeptical.
Per his manager Kevin Mubenga to ESPN, Diaz went through a 14-week diet and training regimen, along with a test weight cut to get to somewhere in the 165-175 pound range. More importantly, Mubenga also stated that Diaz will be “keeping a close eye” on some of the big upcoming welterweight matchups in the UFC, and the one-time welterweight title challenger plans to return in early 2021.
Following DWCS Season 4: Week 6, White spoke with members of the media and was asked about the reports of Diaz’s potential return.
“The Nick Diaz thing: First of all, we would’ve never released that or done that,” White told reporters backstage at the UFC APEX. “We’ll see how this thing plays out. I don’t have any expectations, whatsoever. We’ll see what happens.”
Diaz, 37, hasn’t competed since dropping a unanimous decision to Anderson Silva over five years ago at UFC 183; the loss was overturned to a no-contest after both competitors failed drug tests. It’s been almost nine years since he won his last fight, a unanimous decision win over B.J. Penn in the main event of UFC 137 in October 2011.
Following a five-year suspension from the Nevada Athletic Commission that was bumped down to 18 months, fans have repeatedly had the idea of a Diaz return dangled in front of them. Despite a lengthy absence from competition, his star power has risen.
When White was asked if there has been discussions with Diaz’s camp, he didn’t close the door on the idea. But he certainly didn’t seem overly confident.
“Yeah, there’s been talking,” White said. “But there’s been talking for years.”