TMZ Sports recently caught up with Diaz while the fighter was at a meet-and-greet event. Diaz hasn’t competed since his combat sports return in September 2021 when he battled Robbie Lawler at UFC 266. Although Diaz found success during the contest on his feet, he was ultimately finished via third-round TKO.
Last month, Diaz’s longtime coach Cesar Gracie revealed that fans should: “Look for @nickdiaz209 to fight by the end of the year.” And Diaz confirmed to TMZ Sports that he is, in fact, readying himself to return to the Octagon.
“I’m working on the end of the year,” Diaz said. “Yeah. I’m working on it.”
When Diaz was asked who he wants his comeback fight to be against, Diaz answered: “I don’t know right now. I’m focused on my training right now.”
Then Diaz was asked if he’d prefer to box Canelo Alvarez or compete against the UFC 170-pound champion.
“I’d rather fight for a title,” Diaz answered. “If I’m gonna fight, I want to fight for a title.”
Diaz Believes He Can Beat Usman, Asks the UFC for a Shot at Gold
Usman has been linked to Leon Edwards for his next title defense, however the UFC has yet to schedule the bout as “The Nigerian Nightmare” is currently recovering from hand surgery. The TMZ reporter pointed out that Usman has yet to be officially paired with an opponent.
“Yeah, and that’s the thing,” Diaz responded, “and they want to say if I want to fight like a bunch of guys and stuff like that, but I’m like, you know what, it’s a bigger fight, you know, if you just skip all the mess.”
“I don’t need to go in there and get my a** whooped by one of those young guys anyways. And it’s not that I won’t win, it’s just that I’m not motivated to fight somebody that’s… Yeah, I want to fight for the title. I’m 38 years old.”
When asked for how a fight with Usman would go down, Diaz shared his confidence. “I think I’ll beat him,” Diaz said.
Then, looking at the camera, Diaz had a message for The Nigerian Nightmare. “I think I could beat you. I’d love it if they gave me a shot. I think I could beat you.”
Usman Notched His 5th Title Defense in November
Since taking the 170-pound belt from Tyron Woodley in March 2019 at UFC 235, The Nigerian Nightmare has gone on to defend it five times. His last defense came at UFC 268 in November when he bested Colby Covington for the second time, winning via unanimous decision.
Usman is one of the best welterweights ever and he’s ready to continue his streak after his hand heals correctly, which may take longer than he initially expected. Speaking with The Underground’s John Morgan last week, Usman gave an update.
“I actually saw the doctor last week, and what I was hoping was for the doctor to say, ‘Hey, all right, back to full-go,’ but he expressed to me that this was a tendon issue,” Usman said via Bloody Elbow. “The issue with tendons is there is no blood flow there, especially when they’re in your hands. So it takes a lot longer and not just that way. It’s also right on top of my knuckle. It’s right on that money maker right there. This is the one that I’m going to be able to make contact with very, very quick.
“If I don’t give it the appropriate time to heal properly, then I’m just going to split that right back open and I’m out for a whole year, potentially worse,” continued Usman. “[I could] do irreparable damage to my hand to where I couldn’t potentially fight again. That’s not a chance I’m willing to take right now. I love my career. I love being able to do what I just did in 2021, being able to fight more, being the most active champion there was. I love being able to do that. That was a fun time for me, so if I’m not healthy, I’m not able to even step in there and fight at all.”