Former UFC Welterweight title challenger Nick Diaz has been relatively out of the limelight as of late. Since losing handily to Georges St. Pierre in the main event of UFC 158 last March, Diaz has been sticking to his guns and staying retired, even though he’s still technically on the UFC roster.
And although there was an uproar about Diaz’ finances after his loss to St. Pierre, it may have all been a bunch of ‘wolf tickets’ as Dana White spoke up yesterday at his Google Hangout to clarify that Diaz is doing just fine not fighting:
“Nick’s obviously still on the roster. He’s still an active fighter here in the UFC, but as far as I know, he’s just not interested in fighting right now. When Nick finally fought Georges St-Pierre, Nick Diaz made some money. So Nick Diaz has some kickback money. He can probably take as long as he wants to fight again. You’re fighting to make a living, you’re fighting to pay your bills, you’re fighting to get things that you want out of life. And with the money that Nick Diaz made in his last fight, I’m sure he’s got everything he wants right now.”
Diaz may be holding out for a big return to the UFC, but if that’s his plan, he may want to do it sooner than later. There’s a lot of talent at the top of the UFC Welterweight division, and most of the top fighters have bouts scheduled. Before the title picture gets sorted out between St. Pierre and Johny Hendricks at UFC 167, Rory MacDonald will face Robbie Lawler on the same card while Demian Maia faces Jake Shields at UFC Fight Night 29 on October 9th.
If Diaz does decide to return, what would await him? A rematch with Carlos Condit could be a huge draw, but Diaz might not be in the shape to face “The Natural Born Killer,” who recently dispatched Martin Kampmann at UFC Fight Night 27 in Indianapolis. Perhaps Diaz could face off against Tarec Saffiedine when the Belgian kickboxer returns from injury.
All in all, Diaz might return to a division that has left him behind. He hasn’t had a win since October 2011, when he battered BJ Penn, who is now fighting at Featherweight. And that might not be a problem for Diaz, who may never fight again in the UFC or MMA at all.
It’s tough to say what’s going to happen with an unpredictable, unique fighter like Diaz. White seems to think that he has the money to stay at least semi-retired at this point, but with the boxing and BJJ skills that Diaz possesses, it’d be a shame to not see him put them to work in the Octagon a few more times.
If he does not, is he an instance of wasted great talent? He did win the Strikeforce Middleweight championship, and he has a loyal following of dedicated fans behind him. However, he may not be relevant anymore in the tough UFC 170-pound arena. Where should Diaz go next? Will we ever see him fight again?
Outer Photo: Eric Bolte for USA TODAY Sports