Believe it or not — and we’ll forgive the doubting Thomas types in this case — Nick Diaz may be back in the cage in 2021.
Diaz (26-9, 2NC) has not competed since 2015, when he lost a unanimous decision against Anderson Silva. The fight wound up a no contest after Silva tested positive for banned substances, and Diaz was hit with a suspension for weed.
And that was the last we heard of the elder Diaz brother. While Nate Diaz rose to stardom in fights with Conor McGregor and Jorge Masvidal, Nick was linked to the odd fight, but nothing ever came to fruition.
It appears that is set to change. Diaz’s manager Kevin Mubenga has confirmed (via ESPN) that Diaz is keeping an eye on the welterweight division, and planning an early 2021 return. With that in mind, he underwent a test weight cut, completed a 14 week diet and training regimen, and is in the 175 to 165lb range.
It’s the first time Diaz has cut weight in roughly four years.
… he is keeping a close eye on the big welterweight fights coming up. He is “100%” planning on fighting again, per Mubenga, and is targeting an early 2021 return. (📽 @elfrogito)
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) September 7, 2020
Diaz was once primed to be one of the biggest stars in fighting, and challenged Georges St. Pierre for the UFC’s welterweight title in 2013, despite coming off a loss to Carlos Condit at the time. However, battles with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, who tried to banish him 5 years after the Silva fight, ate up a good chunk of his prime. And despite having that five year ban reduced to 18 months in 2016, he ironically has not fought since.
Should he return to the cage next year, Diaz will be 37. Over the years, he also competed for WEC, Elite XC, and Strikeforce, and holds notable wins over Robbie Lawler, BJ Penn, and Paul Daley, among others.