The latter half of 2016 looks set to entertain another year of vintage Nick Diaz. The Californian was suspended for five years - reduced to 18 months - by the Nevada Athletic Comission after one of his three drug tests at UFC 183 came back positive for marijuana metabolites. His opponent Anderson Silva, who won the fight via unanimous decision (overturned to No Contest), tested positive for steroids but only received a 12-month ban.
Diaz is eligible to return to competition by August and, according to Michael Bisping, the proud Stockton local wants to fight him - but not for the middleweight title. 'The Count', who became the first British champion in UFC history after stunning the world with a knockout over heavy favorite Luke Rockhold at UFC 199, said Diaz approached him in New York and offered a catchweight fight.
"I'll tell you something as well, another possible opponent that hasn't been spoken about, and I was with him a couple of nights ago in New York," Bisping said on his Sirius XM podcast 'The Countdown' (h/t BJPenn.com). "I bumped into him in New York and we got talking. Nick Diaz. Yeah, he's like, ‘Man, we should fight, we should fight.' I'm like, ‘Yeah, I'm down to fight you no problem.' And then he says, ‘But we have to do it at 178.' I'm like, ‘What do you mean 178?' Yeah, yeah, he said we do a catchweight at 178. I'm like, ‘Let's just do 185.' He's like, ‘Nope. 178.' So anyway, I had a good time with Nick, by the way, we had a couple of drinks and hung out, he's a good dude."
Bisping did find it strange that Diaz suggested a catchweight bout instead of a title fight, but says he didn't think to ask why in the moment.
"I don't know, he didn't elaborate and to be honest I'd had a couple of drinks, so I didn't really think to ask the question. He definitely wanted to fight at 178, which is kind of a curious weight. But there you go, there's another potential name."
Although many fighters have put themselves forward, it's likely that Bisping will defend his 185 pound title against Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza by the end of the year.