With news spiralling recently regarding the possible snapping of a five-year Octagon hiatus of Nick Diaz, the fan-favourite veteran seems to have caught the eye of two willing dance partners already.
Diaz’s manager, Kevin Mubenga explained recently to ESPN MMA reporter, Ariel Helwani – that his client has just completed a fourteen-week training program, which finished with a test weight cut back to welterweight – for the first time in four years. Currently sitting between 165-pounds and 175-pounds, Diaz is reportedly, “100%” targeting a return to the division in the opening months of next year.
This sudden development has caught the attention of former welterweight title challengers, Darren ‘The Gorilla’ Till, as well as Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thomspon. Now competing a division higher at middleweight, Liverpudlian striker, Till is in line to headline a UFC Fight Night event on December 5th. – opposite former Cage Warriors talent, Jack ‘The Joker’ Hermansson. For Thompson, however, the South Carolina native has been left unmatched since his UFC 244 shutout win over Vicente Luque last November at Madison Square Garden.
Taking to his official Twitter account this afternoon, Thompson detailed his interest in possibly welcoming Stockton native, Diaz back to the Octagon.
“”I’m down to welcome him (Nick Diaz) back to the ranks! Would be an honour….lets see where he’s at! 👊🏻🙏🏻“
For Till, who recently suffered a close unanimous decision loss to former middleweight best, Robert Whittaker in an instant classic at a UFC ‘Fight Island’ event in July – the popular Muay Thai ace showed no qualms about meeting Diaz sometime in the future.
“”If @nickdiaz209 wants to come back & scrap, who’s the biggest star, fight & best fight for him outside the Middleweight champ.? Fu*king me that’s who… 🦍“
While Diaz outlined his interest in a potential BMF championship challenge opposite, Jorge ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal following his younger brother, Nate’s loss last November – the bout failed to come to fruition. A sudden return against Masvidal seems even more unlikely now, with the promotion actively planning a BMF title re-run between Masvidal and Nate for a UFC 247 event in January.
Diaz, who turned 37-years-old in August – last featured under the UFC’s banner at UFC 183 in January 2015, in an eventual ‘No Contest’ opposite former middleweight best, Anderson ‘The Spider‘ Silva. The ‘No Contest’ result seen Diaz extend his run without a win to three fights, following losses to Georges St-Pierre, and Carlos Condit.
To find Diaz’s last victory, you have to go back to UFC 137 in 2011 – where he scored a unanimous shutout triumph over former welterweight and lightweight best, B.J. Penn. A former Strikeforce and WEC 170-pound titleholder, Diaz has scored a 26-9 professional record.