But if the barrier to a return is working out a new deal with the promotion, there could be a lot more work that needs to be done if Diaz is ever to grace the octagon again.
UFC President Dana White on Wednesday indicated he doesn’t want to see the one-time welterweight title challenger return to action, citing Diaz’s recent appearances on social media.
“Everything that I see from Nick Diaz doesn’t look like Nick Diaz wants to or is ready to compete in this sport,” White said in an interview with “The Schmo.” “This sport, even Jon Jones, as good as Jon Jones is, you have to be 100 percent mentally, physically and emotionally ready to train, be ready for this and fight. And I just don’t think...I don’t think anyone should want to see Nick Diaz fight.
“Nick Diaz has been in a lot of wars. He’s accomplished a lot of great things in his career. He’s made a lot of money. He’s obviously super-famous. He’s gotten everything you could hope to get out of fighting. I just don’t know why, when I see his Instagram, why he would want to come back.”
In November 2019, Diaz, 37, sat down with ESPN for an extended interview where he talked up a return in a fight at AT&T Stadium (formerly known as Cowboys Stadium). He named Jorge Masvidal, who beat his younger brother Nate Diaz in a “BMF” title fight at UFC 244, as a possible opponent. The elder Diaz’s manager, Kevin Mubenga, targeted the comeback fight for spring 2021.
The pandemic changed everyone’s plans, of course. But the Diaz brothers continued to train, as evidenced by a video recap of their 2020 in quarantine. The UFC, meanwhile, returned to business after a brief pause in its live event schedule.
As ever, the promotion needs stars to promote despite a lack of live audience. But both Diaz brothers remain on the shelf thus far.
Recent posts from Nick Diaz on Instagram have been centered around the gym and training. White, however, could be referring to content that was posted before the fighter and his rep started to talk about a comeback. Diaz was frequently seen out and about at clubs, living a life that didn’t resemble one of a professional fighter.
Whether or not Diaz has turned the corner and is ready to come back, he’ll need to convince White. The brash fighter will need to sign a new deal. And last, but not least, he’ll need to get cleared to compete.
It’s been five years since Diaz last stepped into the octagon in a fight against ex-middleweight champ Anderson Silva that ended in a decision loss (and later, a drug suspension).
Check out the full interview below.