Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo, USA Today Sports.

Fan-Favorite Nick Diaz Looks Set to Return to the Octagon After a Three Year Hiatus…

Could 2018 be the year of the Diaz Brothers? Only a few weeks after younger brother Nate announced his intentions to return to Octagon action, Nick Diaz looks likely to return sometime this year. We haven’t seen him fight since way back in 2015 when he took on Anderson Silva.

What was originally scored as a win for Silva was overturned into a No Contest, after the Brazilian tested positive for steroid use while Diaz tested positive for marijuana. Diaz was given an eighteen-month ban and a $100,000 fine. Probably the most expensive joint he’s ever smoked.

The elder Diaz has had a tumultuous relationship with the UFC. He has a cult status amongst MMA fans, but it hasn’t always been plain sailing for Stockton’s finest. Diaz has tested positive for marijuana use on numerous occasions in the past. Now though, UFC President Dana White has signaled that Diaz looks like he has regained the hunger to fight.

Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports.

Pedigree Fighter

Although he was eligible to return in the second half of 2016, Diaz has sat out in self-imposed exile. Younger brother Nate has raked in the cash after two massive fights against Conor McGregor. Despite being established fan-favorites, it’s almost as though the UFC didn’t know what to do with the Diaz brothers before Nate beat McGregor.

Diaz has had two spells in the UFC. In his first, he rose through the ranks with memorable moments including a shocking win over Robbie Lawlor and a hospital brawl with Joe Riggs. He also invented the Stockton slap, one of the most epic forms of showboating you’ll ever see an MMA fighter do to his opponent.

Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte, USA TODAY Sports.

Ready to Return

UFC President Dana White spoke about Diaz’s potential return in an interview with TMZ. He said:

“I think Nick is interested in fighting right now. We’ll see. We’ll see how that plays out. This year, the rest of this year, nothing but great fights coming up. So hopefully we can make a couple of those.”

Granted White didn’t make any promises there, but we can be cautiously optimistic that’s he is speaking from a place of truth. He’s got nothing to gain by antagonizing Diaz, given the history that the Stockton native has with the UFC.

Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte, USA TODAY Sports.

Who to Fight?

The question of who he could face is a fascinating one. Diaz is a natural welterweight, having held the Strikeforce and WEC titles. He’s fought at that weight for most of his UFC career, with his most recent appearance in the 170-pound division a title fight loss to Georges St. Pierre.

Current UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley has been crying to the heavens for a big name ‘money fight’. He’s been constantly linked to a fight against the younger Diaz. However, Nate is a natural lightweight so a fight against Nick would make much more sense.

However, his most recent appearance was at middleweight. Diaz has been linked with a match-up against Michael Bisping in the past. With the Brit on a two-fight slide, and making no secret of his desire to retire after one final farewell, might he be the perfect comeback opponent for a ring-rusty Diaz? You just know he’s coming back with a vengeance.

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