Stockton’s finest Nick Diaz has signed a new three-fight deal with the UFC that will see him return to action for the first time since his UFC welterweight title loss to Georges St-Pierre in March 2013. Despite losing his last two, the bandwagon for Diaz to return to the Octagon has been bigger than ever and, after a lengthy agreement, terms have finally been agreed.
After a number of match-ups had been suggested for the 30 year-old, from middleweights Michael Bisping and Anderson Silva, to welterweight contenders Hector Lombard and Matt Brown, it is yet to be confirmed who Diaz’s return will be against, or when it will take place.
UFC president Dana White confirmed the news via Twitter, with a photo of Diaz with White and Lorenzo Fertitta attached. He also stated that more details will follow soon.
— Dana White (@danawhite) July 24, 2014
Nick Diaz had suggested that it would take a $200,000 per fight purse to force his return to the UFC, but the new contract is likely to fall short of that sum.
A former Strikeforce champion and UFC welterweight contender, Diaz re-joins the 170lbs fold with a number of intriguing match-ups lying in his wake. With Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown fighting for the number 1 contendership this weekend, Rory MacDonald set to face Tarec Saffiedine and Tyron Woodley facing Dong Hyun-Kim, potential match-ups for Diaz include the likes of Hector Lombard, a rematch Carlos Condit (upon his return from a torn ACL) or the winner of the upcoming Maia-Pyle bout.
Prior to his recent two fight losing skid, Diaz was able to compile an impressive 11 fight winning streak, which included wins over BJ Penn, Paul Daley and Frank Shamrock, capturing the Strikeforce title along the way. Diaz is looking to return in 2015, and reacted to the news with the following statement (courtesy of the official UFC site).
“I’ve been doing a whole lot of not getting punched around-type stuff. I’ve been staying in shape pretty good, doing a lot of running. It’s been a good experience having this much time off.
“[I'll return] next year I guess, whatever though. I can fight tomorrow; tonight. You have to do what you have to do… [I came today] to sort things out with Dana White and Lorenzo [Fertitta].
“It was hard times for a little bit, but people act like I’ve been doing nothing. I’ve been getting some things done. Just because I’m not getting punched around every day doesn’t mean I’m not focused on what I’m doing. Now, here we are.”
Update: Regarding a potential match-up between Diaz and former champion Anderson Silva, UFC president Dana White tweeted the following.
There is no update on Anderson vs Diaz. Anderson can’t fight till Feb. Lorenzo and I have not even talked to Anderson. — Dana White (@danawhite) July 24, 2014