UFC legend and former Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz is eyeing a return to fighting, according to a report from ESPN’s Ariel Helwani.
On Sunday night, Helwani shared a recent video of Diaz who weighed around 165 to 175 pounds. Diaz’s manager Kevin Mubenga told the journalist that the fighter just finished a 14-week diet and training program. As per Helwani, the manager said that this was the first time Diaz had cut weight in four years.
Helwani reported that Diaz did the test weight cut as “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.”
Diaz hasn’t fought since January 2015 when he took on Anderson Silva in the main event of UFC 183. He originally lost the bout by decision, however Silva failed a drug test and the fight was overturned to a no contest. Diaz also tested positive for marijuana after the bout and was subsequently suspended for 18 months and fined $100,000.
Diaz has a professional MMA record of 26-9 with two no contests.
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Diaz Sparked Comeback Speculation With an Instagram Post in Early August
On August 3, Diaz sparked comeback speculation after posting a photo of himself on Instagram with the caption: “War Ready #Knockout.”
After the fighter shared the post, fans took to the comment section to ask Diaz if he was preparing for a comeback. For example, one user commented, “Sounds like he’s ready to fight again.”
Another user wrote, “Bro go to [Bellator] and fight. If your really war ready go do It than. Cmon Nick were all waiting.” One fan commented, “We need one last fight nick.”
Another fan commented, “One last fight please Nick it would be legendary.”
One fan wrote, “one more fight” and suggested a rematch against former UFC middleweight and welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. Diaz and “GSP” fought in March 2013 at UFC 158.
Another fan commented, “Take [Kamaru Usman] out for us.” Usman is the current UFC welterweight champion.
Diaz Hasn’t Won a Bout Since Defeating BJ Penn in 2011, His 11th Victory in a Row
It has been almost nine years since Diaz has had his hand raised inside the UFC’s Octagon. The last time the fighter earned a victory was on October 29, 2011, when he took on former UFC welterweight and lightweight champion BJ Penn, winning by unanimous decision.
That win was his 11th in a row and it earned him a shot at the interim welterweight title against Carlos Condit. In February 2012, Diaz and “The Natural Born Killer” fought all five championship rounds and the judges awarded the fight to Condit by unanimous decision. The result was controversial, however, as many viewers scored the match for Diaz.
Diaz returned to the Octagon over a year later and challenged then-champ Georges St-Pierre for the welterweight title. Before fighting Diaz, GSP unified the welterweight belt by beating Condit. As history has it, St-Pierre defended his title against Diaz by unanimous decision.
Diaz would then go on to fight Silva and start his hiatus from the sport.