After failing to capture the interim welterweight championship against Carlos Condit at UFC 143 in Feb., announcing his retirement from the sport in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan and proceeding to test positive for marijuana metabolites, Diaz has dropped off the map, doing little in the way of media or public appearances.
Today, Diaz’s head coach, Cesar Gracie, released a post on GracieFighter.com speaking on behalf of the fighter saying that Diaz will indeed return to the Ultimate Fighting Championship to fight again, possibly before the end of the year.
While Diaz typically competes in the welterweight division, Gracie states in the post that Diaz would like to “respectfully” challenge UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva for his return to the octagon.
Read the entire statement released by Gracie below.
It’s been a trying time these last 4 months as I have been faced with the prospect that one of our team’s most talented fighters had decided to leave the sport. As a fan I’ve always admired what both of the Diaz’s brought to the cage; a combination of technical brilliance and raw violence.
Nate Diaz has finally put his game together and found the formula to propel him to the top of the 155lbs division. To see Nick leave at the top of his game was difficult.
For the last couple of months I’ve watched Nick begin to frequent the gym more and more. He’s training harder now than he has for many of his fights. It was obvious that training and fighting is in his DNA. It is who he is.
This week we had a great talk and he made it clear to me that he is ready to get back to the cage. Nick Diaz will return.
To address the NSAC suspension, I will say that we have appealed to the courts and if things go our way, it will be plausible that Nick could return as early as sometime at the end of this year.
For too long NSAC bureaucrats have acted with malicious incompetence towards the fighters. We will challenge them in court.
As far as future opponents, Nick has stated that he would like to take fights “that matter”. Since GSP will be fighting Condit, he has to look elsewhere. He will respectfully ask for a fight with Anderson Silva, a fighter he respects and would like to challenge.
Silva’s camp has been speaking of a fight with GSP, possibly even at a catch weight. Nick will take that fight in a minute but has told me that should Silva decide not to drop at all, he will move up to 185lbs to face the Champ.
I will be meeting with Dana next Monday August 6th to discuss this and other issues. If you appreciate Nick’s fighting style, please let Dana know that you want Nick back ASAP.
Thank you and best regards,
There are a number of key takeaways from Gracie’s statement.
Firstly, Gracie says Diaz is hoping to fight before the end of the year. This is highly unlikely as the Stockton fighter is currently serving a one-year suspension administered by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) for the positive test. Diaz’s suspension isn’t up until Feb. 4, 2013.
With that said, Gracie also says that the Diaz camp will challenge the NSAC ruling in court because of “malicious incompetence” towards the fighters. This is a move that, unless there is some evidence proving “malicious incompetence” by the NSAC towards the fighter, will likely have no effect on the current suspension.
Secondly, while he is a big name in the sport and a fight with Anderson Silva would certainly be intriguing, Diaz has never competed in the UFC at 185-pounds and is hardly deserving of a title shot ahead of contenders such as Chris Weidman, Tim Boetsch and even the Michael Bisping vs. Brian Stann winner. If Diaz is willing to fight one of those men first, he could make a claim at deserving a championship bout at middleweight.
All in all, it comes as a relief to most mixed martial arts fans knowing that one of the most entertaining and dynamic athletes in the sport is not retired for good. Even if it takes another 6-8 months to see him step back in the cage.
Mike Bohn, founder and lead writer of FightCove.com, wrote this article. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @FightCoveMike. Also, be sure to follow @FightCove on Twitter and “Like” Fight Cove on Facebook.