Diaz showed up to the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena for UFC 261 on Saturday night and issued a cryptic message on social media – “a gentlemen never tells” – that prompted immediate speculation of a comeback.
Backstage after the pay-per-view event, White confirmed Diaz was there for a meeting to discuss his fighting future.
“Nick wants to fight,” White said, and added “sure” when asked whether the 37-year-old fighter would receive one.
Talk toward a Diaz comeback was tamped down by the release of an extended interview with ESPN in which he appeared to slur his words. Diaz’s manager assured fans that a return was imminent, and pictures on social media appeared to show the fighter returning to the kind of healthy lifestyle that was absent in postings of one or two years earlier.
As recently as January, White sounded doubtful about a Diaz comeback.
“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,” White told The Schmo. “I don’t think anyone should want to see Nick Diaz fight.”
But on Saturday, White appeared ready to at least hear Diaz out about a return to the octagon, which comes six years after his previous fight, a decision loss to Anderson Silva that led to drug suspensions for both.
Diaz will need to be cleared to fight by state athletic commissions who will require additional testing because of his age. He is currently helping his younger brother, Nate Diaz, prepare for a comeback against Leon Edwards later this year.
“We’ll see how this goes,” White said. “He’s waiting for me in the back right now. I’m going to go talk to him.”