Taking to Instagram on April 10, Gracie shared a photo of the MMA superstar with the Strikeforce welterweight championship over his shoulder. And in the caption, Gracie wrote: “Look for @nickdiaz209 to fight by the end of the year.”
Diaz last fought in September 2021 when he took on ex-UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler in a rematch around 17 years in the making. They met at UFC 266 and it was a fun, back-and-forth striking match until Lawler ultimately dropped Diaz in the third round, crowning “Ruthless” the winner via TKO by retirement.
It was Diaz’s first mixed martial arts bout in over six years, with his last taking place at UFC 183 in January 2015 against Anderson Silva.
During his in-cage interview with Daniel Cormier after the fight, Diaz said he has the loss “coming” as he was away from the sport for a long time, and he seemingly wasn’t prepared for the match.
“I had a long time off and I knew I had it coming,” Diaz said via MMA Mania. “I don’t know how this fight got set up. I had to switch up my whole management and set up, the way the fight got set up. It was just a bum rap. No excuses. I had it coming.”
Diaz Said He Wanted to Be More Active as a Fighter
During the UFC 266 press conference, Diaz said that he would return to the Octagon quickly if he got his “a** whooped” by Lawler.
“Definitely want to do this more often, especially if I get my ass whooped,” Diaz said via MMA Fighting. “If I get my a** whooped, I want to come back right away. If I get my a** whooped, I want to come right back.”
Although Diaz didn’t get dominated by Lawler in any stretch, he did lose the rematch, which may be a major reason why the 38-year-old combatant is returning.
Diaz Questioned Why He Didn’t Get Much ‘Support’ During His Absence
During the same presser, Diaz questioned where the fans and media were during his MMA hiatus. Diaz was one of the most popular fighters in the sport, especially after he returned to the UFC in 2011.
But, Diaz doesn’t feel like he received much “support” from the MMA community while he was away.
“I’m not knocking the UFC, just maybe the whole sport in general,” Diaz said. “I always fought, I had three to five fights a year for like 17 years or so. All I ever thought about was weight, what am I going to eat After a while, you realize there’s more to life. After a while, you realize there’s more to life and everybody digs their heels into you while you’re down. It’s kind of rough.
“It’s nice to see a lot of support like two weeks leading up to a fight. But what about the last five years? That’s kind of how I feel. Of course, I get a lot of hi’s and byes and I’ve done plenty of handshakes. I’d like to take some of those back.”