Former UFC welterweight title challenger, Nick Diaz has confirmed plans to make another Octagon appearance before the end of this year, with sights fixed on current division kingpin, Kamaru Usman in a title offing.

Diaz, a former interim and undisputed welterweight title challenger under the promotion’s banner, made his first Octagon outing in over six years back in September at UFC 266 – suffering a third round strikes loss against former undisputed champion, Robbie Lawler in the pair’s rematch.

Following the loss, Diaz exclaimed his surprise that a matchup with Lawler had actually come to fruition, detailing a split within his team during the process of preparing for the fight, leading many to question his commitment to fighting in the future.

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However, in recent weeks, speculation regarding another Octagon walk for the former Strikeforce and WEC champion was rife – with his longtime trainer, Cesar Gracie urging spectators to expect Diaz to fight before the close of 2022

Putting value to those claims, Diaz himself has now confirmed plans to make a UFC return before the culmination of this annum – and firmly sets sights on a title clash against welterweight kingpin, Usman.

Nick Diaz confirms his plan to fight before the end of this year

“(We’re) working on the end of the year,” Nick Diaz told TMZ. “I’m just focused on training right now. If I’m going to fight, I want to fight for the title. … They (the UFC) want to say that I want to fight a bunch of guys and stuff like that. Well, you know what? It’s a bigger fight (a fight with Kamaru Usman).”

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“Just skip all the mess, I don’t need to go in there and get my ass whooped by one of the young guys, anyway – and ti’s not that I won’t win,” Nick Diaz explained. “It’s just not motivating to fight somebody that’s – I want to fight for the title. I’m 38 years old.” (Transcribed by MMA Junkie)

Without a professional victory since his October 2011 Octagon return against former two-division champion, B.J. Penn – Diaz still maintains that he can defeat the promotional perfect, pound-for-pound kingpin, Usman. “I think I’ll beat him (Kamaru Usman),” Nick Diaz said. “I would love if they (the UFC) gave me a shot.” 

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For Usman, the Auchi native has still yet to obtain medical clearance to return following recent surgery to address a ligament injury in his hand, however, is still expected to attempt his next title defense against the #2 ranked contender, Leon Edwards in his Octagon return. 

Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.