During April’s UFC 261, fans were treated to a spectacular fight card that included three championship fights that were each finished within the distance. And after the event was over, fans were hit with news of the potential return of a superstar.
At the post-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White told the media that he and Nick Diaz were set to have a discussion about the athlete’s fighting future. Diaz was a spectator at the event and according to White, the two were meeting that night.
“Nick wants to fight,” White confirmed.
“He’s waiting for me in the back right now, I’m going to go talk to him.”
Fast forward a few weeks and White has revealed how their conversation went and if he thinks Diaz will fight again. In an interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto ahead of UFC 262 on May 15, 2021, White poured a bit of cold water on Diaz’s possible return.
“It went good,” White said via MMA Fighting. “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.”
White then questioned Diaz’s motivation for returning to the Octagon, comparing it to the up-and-coming fighters on the roster.
“Just the amount of time that he’s taken off already,” White continued. “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 continued.
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White Didn’t Reveal the Name of a Potential Opponent for Diaz
Although White has some doubt concerning Diaz’s return, he said he’s willing to talk with Diaz’s team and put a fight together should he want to return. And for an opponent, the UFC president is sure Diaz will have a name in mind.
“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.”
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White Knows Fans Want to Watch MMA Legends Compete Even Though It’s a ‘Young Man’s Game’
The UFC president then reminded Okamoto that fighting best serves the young. Diaz hasn’t competed since 2015 and is 37 years old. But, White acknowledged that many people still want to watch MMA legends compete in the cage.
“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?”