clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Dana White unsure of Nick Diaz comeback: ‘I just question how bad he really wants to fight’

Nick Diaz
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Dana White isn’t committing to the notion of Nick Diaz stepping into the octagon again.

The former Strikeforce champion and longtime welterweight contender has been a popular topic of comeback conversation for years now, dating back to his most recent fight against Anderson Silva back in 2015. Despite having a five-year suspension for marijuana use—stemming from the Silva bout—reduced to 18 months, Diaz still has yet to return to competition and aside from the occasional rumor, has not come close to having a fight booked.

Last December, Diaz’s manager announced that he expected his client to return in 2021 and Diaz himself made an appearance at UFC 261 in Jacksonville, Fla., once again sparking comeback chatter.

Diaz, 37, met with UFC President Dana White while in Jacksonville and the talk left White just as unsure of a Diaz’s future as before.

“It went good,” White told ESPN. “My whole thing with Nick Diaz is I just question how bad he really wants to fight. We got together, we had great conversation, talked about a possible comeback for him. I just don’t know. We’ll see how it plays out this summer and the rest of this year.”

When asked why he thinks Diaz might be hesitant to compete again, White posited that he may not be as motivated as the new generation of fighters currently jockeying for position on the roster.

“Just the amount of time that he’s taken off already,” White said. “When you hear him talk about fighting, you hear him talk about the sport, and I sit down daily or talk to daily [with] hungry, young savages that want to break into the top-10, become world champions, all that stuff.

“Nick Diaz has done it all, seen it all, he’s been in big fights, I just don’t see that in him when I talk to him.”

White added that he wouldn’t dig too deeply into Diaz’s mind set and if his team says they’re ready to fight, then he’ll give Diaz a fight. As for the opponent, he’s leaving that decision in Diaz’s hands as well.

“I think at this point in his career, I think that they’ll come back and say, ‘We want to fight this guy,’ White said. “So we’ll see who they say they want and we’ll go from there.”

In a pro career dating back to 2001, Diaz has compiled a 26-9 (2 NC) record while going toe-to-toe with some of the biggest names in the sport. He has faced legends like Silva and Georges St-Pierre and holds wins over B.J. Penn, Frank Shamrock, Robbie Lawler, and Takanori Gomi (the last of which was overturned when Diaz tested positive for marijuana).

Given his experience, Diaz is likely closer in ranking to the likes of Lawler, Carlos Condit, and Donald Cerrone, who recently suffered another tough loss this past weekend. Those veteran names have presented White with a conundrum in regards to how the UFC should handle their careers.

“My thing is always, first of all, when we talk about all the type of fighting that’s going on right now in this landscape, there’s a market for that stuff,” White said. “Some people want to see that stuff and I always tell you that’s not what I do. Fighting is a young man’s game and I’m looking for the youngest, most talented, up-and-coming fighters that want to be world champion someday, want to be the best. Those are the types that we put on.

“But there are legends that are still around the sport. ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone just fought this weekend. A lot of questions about him now, are you going to let him fight again? Nick Diaz is a legend in this sport, will he fight again? We take all of these on a case-by-case basis, whether we think all these guys should still be here?”

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting