It looks like Nick Diaz will be back before the end of 2021.
The former welterweight title contender has been teasing his return for some time with those closest to him saying that Diaz was training with the purpose to fight again sooner rather than later. Those rumors were usually met with a healthy dose of skepticism by UFC president Dana White, who routinely shot down the idea that Diaz was going to be fighting any time soon.
Now it appears White has finally changed his outlook when it comes to Diaz’s future.
“I wasn’t very high on that,” White told UFC Arabia about Diaz making his return to the UFC. “I didn’t think that it would happen but it looks like it will. It looks like Nick Diaz will fight this year.”
Diaz hasn’t competed since 2015 when he lost a decision to former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva in a fight that was later overturned to a no contest when the Brazilian tested positive for banned substances.
Following that controversy, Diaz faced one of his own when he was initially handed down a five-year suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission after he tested positive for marijuana for the third time in the state. The commission later overturned that punishment and instead suspended Diaz for 18 months.
Diaz then faced a one-year suspension from the United States Anti-Doping Agency for failing to report his whereabouts as part of the UFC’s anti-doping program. He was cleared to compete again in 2018 but still hasn’t booked a fight since then.
Even White admits surprise at changing his tune where Diaz is concerned after he largely wrote off the veteran welterweight based on his long absence from the sport.
“The last time that I saw him in Jacksonville but it looks like it’s going to happen,” White said. “We’ll see. The matchmakers have [talked to him] but I don’t know where we’re at on it but it’s looking promising.
“You never hear me say that ever. ‘You think Nick Diaz will fight this year?’ Absolutely, positively not is what I usually say. Looking promising [he’ll fight this year].”
Obviously at this point White isn’t willing to disclose a specific timeline for Diaz’s next fight much less any potential opponents but all signs are pointing towards his return to the UFC before the end of the year.