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Who WIll Nick Diaz Fight in His UFC Return?

| September 12, 2020 1:33 am PDT
Nick Diaz UFC Return

Who will Nick Diaz fight in his return to the UFC? Will Diaz return in 2020? What are the chances of the legendary Stockton bad boy returning at all?

These are just a few questions that are being asked by fans right now regarding his mooted comeback fight. On the account of Nick’s lengthy absence, there is a lot of confusion regarding whether his comeback plans are genuine. But it looks likely that he will, in fact, fight in 2021.

Footage of Diaz’s mock weight cut recently circulated over the internet faster thana hot meme. It got the tongues wagging again, taking some of us back to a time when the UFC was raw, unfiltered, and ultimately badass.

That gives you an idea of just how beloved this guy is to the old faithful. He is a legend. We just don’t want to see him making any rash decisions here.

News of Diaz’s return has created a debate over who should welcome the UFC’s prodigal son back to where he belongs. Could it be Conor McGregor? Anderson Silva? Perhaps even Dana White himself? I’m going to attempt to answer that for you today.

Odds have been released for Diaz’s potential opponents, and I’m going to share your betting options with you and choose the fighter I think makes the most sense for Nick Diaz’s comeback.

Let’s get to it.

Jorge Masvidal (+300)

With everything that can happen in the UFC, it can sometimes be hard to distinguish genuine news from bull crap.

But let’s say Nick Diaz’s return is genuine. I certainly want to believe he can fight again. I’m sure I’m not alone in that regard. But the choice of an opponent must be right. After all, the guy will be rustier than a lock nut on the titanic after almost six years away from active competition.

So, would it be a good idea to throw him in there with Jorge Masvidal right away? The answer is NO. Non. Nein. Não. Whatever language you speak, it translates to a bad idea.

Yes, Nick was slated to fight Masvidal when rumors of a return surfaced in 2019. I even discussed the prospect of this fight when coming up with five potential opponents for Diaz’s proposed return last year. But it can’t happen, surely?

There is some beef between these two, but I don’t think it is anything worth getting excited about. Masvidal and Nate are more than likely going to fight it out in a rematch in January, so I can’t see this one happening for Nick.

Well, not yet, at least. But given the fact that the Diaz brothers tend to stray from fighting the same guy, I would strongly suggest the odds for Nick to fight Masvidal are avoided.

Robbie Lawler (+350)

Now this one I like.

Nick and Robbie Lawler at 170 pounds would be a good fight to watch. I think it would a great fight for longtime fans who remember their iconic first bout back at UFC 47 in April 2004. And yes, it has been that long.

Lawler would eventually go on to win the promotion’s welterweight title before losing it to Tyron Woodley in 2016. He’s still ploughing away but is on a four-fight skid right now and seems to have lost his spark.

But would Lawler be up for this one? Let me answer that question with another – does a bear crap in the woods?

I think this is a great return fight for Diaz and the fans would love it. Especially the old farts among us who can remember watching their first fight all those years ago.

So, as for the chances of Diaz fighting Lawler next? I would say they are likely.

Conor McGregor (+400)

There are too many things working against a fight with McGregor happening.

The Irish superstar claims to be retired. Now, I don’t believe that. I’m sure you feel exactly the same way. But when he does return to the UFC, it’s not going to be against Nick Diaz.

For starters, his rivalry is with Nate, and they must fight out their rubber match before Nick can get involved. Although it would be exciting to see the older Stockton brother in the cage with Conor, it would destroy the entire narrative for the most lucrative rivalry in UFC history.

More than this, Conor has nothing to gain from fighting Nick. If he beats him, he’ll be lambasted for fighting an older guy who has been out of the game for more than five years. If he loses, he might as well kiss his legacy goodbye.

There are better options for both guys, and the UFC knows it.

Carlos Condit (+450)

The second of three former Diaz dancing partners on this list, Condit is a good shout for fighting Nick in his return to the cage.

The “Natural Born Killer” snapped Diaz’s eleven-fight win streak at UFC 143 in February 2012, picking up a majority decision win that earned him the interim UFC welterweight title. It would turn out to be the antepenultimate bout of Diaz’s career, with only Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva coming after.

Condit’s fortunes went downhill after that fight. He lost to St-Pierre in the unification bout and has posted an unconvincing 2-8 from his ten fights since. In other words, he has everything to gain here.

I think Condit is a winnable fight for Diaz. And a fight that would most definitely give us a good gauge of how well he can perform going forward. There is also enough of a backstory between these two to make it sellable, too.

I think this makes for a really promising proposition.

Mike Perry (+700)

I don’t know where to start on this one. I mean, I’ve seen snakes with more legs than any story involving Diaz fighting Perry.

It’s MMA tabloid stuff that will inevitably fizzle out after a while because Perry just doesn’t fit into this equation. He is dangerous, sure, but he hasn’t got the same appeal as other guys on this list. His youth and explosiveness could cause Diaz trouble, making him unsuitable for a comeback fight.

The UFC matchmakers have better options in the form of Lawler, Condit, and a few others. A bad matchup all around, in my opinion. Perry can continue to call Nick out, but it’s not going to go anywhere.

If Nick returns and wins a fight or two, there is a small chance that it could happen. But Perry won’t be Diaz’s opponent in his return fight. You can quote me on that.

Darren Till (+800)

Till is plying his trade at middleweight, which already presents a problem.

Yes, Nick fought Anderson Silva at middleweight in his final UFC fight, but it’s rather unlikely that he will be back at 185 in his return bout. Especially not against a guy like Till, who is a big, powerful, and reasonably young dude.

I’d give this even less chance of happening than the Perry fight. I doubt Till would even entertain a move back to welterweight, given his problems with making 170 pounds in the past.

Anderson Silva (+900)

Diaz lost the final fight of his second stint in the UFC to Anderson Silva, all the way back in January 2015.

The fight later overturned to a no contest, following Silva’s positive test for anabolic steroids and Nick’s positive test for marijuana. Guess who was slapped with the five-year suspension?

Regardless of the history between these two, there seems to be genuine respect there. Naturally, Silva’s name will have been brought up because, well, he was the last man to stand opposite to Diaz in the Octagon.

But I can’t really see this fight happening. Silva is set to retire from the sport following one last bout, and Uriah Hall looks set to get the gig. Nothing is set in stone, of course, and this one could happen. But it would involve Diaz fighting at middleweight.

Who Fights Nick Diaz in his Return to the UFC?

Carlos Condit gets my vote. It’s a fight that makes absolute sense, and I can see it happening.

Let’s be clear about this — Nick Diaz is 37 years old. He hasn’t fought in almost six years and hasn’t won a fight since beating BJ Penn in October 2011.

If you’re expecting the young, exciting Diaz of the 2000s to step into that cage, I hate to tell you, but you will be disappointed. I mean, apart from his age and inactivity, anyone who has followed Diaz’s social media accounts over the past five years can see that he has been enjoying life outside the sport.

So, let’s be realistic — he won’t be winning any titles. He would get demolished by most of the top fifteen at welterweight and eaten up by probably any ranked middleweight.

With that in mind, we can manage our expectations here and look forward to Diaz returning to the fight game. In my opinion, there are just two other opponents that make sense. They are Robbie Lawler and Diego Sanchez. Like Condit, these two have fought Diaz before, and it would be fun to see him run it back with either of them.

Feel free to take my words any way you want. If you believe he will fight the likes of McGregor or Masvidal, feel free to put your money where your mouth is over on our recommended sports betting sites.

Who knows? We might be surprised at who gets the shot.

Adam Haynes
Adam Haynes

Adam is a sports writer and tipster with a strong background in MMA, boxing, and combat sports.

When Adam isn't writing about those, as well as politics, rugby, and Gaelic Games, he can be found working on methods and strategies to beat the bookies.

For his troubles, Adam is a fan of Leinster Rugby, Glasgow Celtic, and trusting the process.

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