Nick Diaz To Return To UFC, Targeting Fight With Anderson Silva
Diaz's manager and head trainer, Cesar Gracie, released a statement on Friday via GracieFighter.com mapping out the future plans of the world-ranked welterweight.
"For the last couple of months I’ve watched Nick begin to frequent the gym more and more," wrote Gracie. "He’s training harder now than he has for many of his fights. It was obvious that training and fighting is in his DNA. It is who he is.
This week we had a great talk and he made it clear to me that he is ready to get back to the cage. Nick Diaz will return."
A move up to 185-pounds to challenge reigning division kingpin Anderson Silva could also be in the cards, according to Gracie.
"As far as future opponents, Nick has stated that he would like to take fights 'that matter'. Since GSP will be fighting Condit, he has to look elsewhere. He will respectfully ask for a fight with Anderson Silva, a fighter he respects and would like to challenge.
Silva’s camp has been speaking of a fight with GSP, possibly even at a catch weight. Nick will take that fight in a minute but has told me that should Silva decide not to drop at all, he will move up to 185lbs to face the Champ."
Diaz last competed at February's UFC 143 where he came up short to Carlos Condit in a welterweight interim title bid. Following the bout, Diaz announced his retirement from mixed martial arts inside the Octagon.
Days after the loss, Nevada State Athletic Commission representatives announced that Diaz had tested positive for marijuana metabolites — his second offense in the state of Nevada —and subsequently suspended the fighter for one year.
His camp also plans to appeal the suspension.
"To address the NSAC suspension, I will say that we have appealed to the courts and if things go our way, it will be plausible that Nick could return as early as sometime at the end of this year," said Gracie. "For too long NSAC bureaucrats have acted with malicious incompetence towards the fighters. We will challenge them in court."
The future of Diaz should become a bit clearer after Gracie meets with UFC President Dana White next week.
"I will be meeting with Dana next Monday August 6th to discuss this and other issues. If you appreciate Nick’s fighting style, please let Dana know that you want Nick back ASAP."
Prior to February's controversial decision loss to Condit, Diaz put together an 11-fight win streak spanning from 2008 to 2011. During the impressive run, the Stockton, California native went a perfect 6-0 under the Strikeforce banner, capturing and defending the promotion's welterweight title in the process. During his 11-year career, the 28-year-old has notched notable victories over the likes of Chris Lytle, Robbie Lawler, Frank Shamrock, Paul Daley and B.J. Penn.