After three years on the sidelines, Nick Diaz could be making a comeback to the UFC.
That’s according to UFC president Dana White, who told TMZ Sports in a recent interview that the Stockton slugger is ‘interested in fighting right now’.
“I think Nick Diaz is interested in fighting right now,” White said, per MMA Weekly’s Damon Martin. “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.”
Diaz, 34, is the older brother of Nate Diaz, and has developed somewhat of a cult fan base over the years. Diaz has been a fan favorite since his early stint in the UFC back in 2003-2006, when the Californian pulled off a stunning KO upset over Robbie Lawler at UFC 47 and infamously got into a hospital brawl with former UFC contender Joe Riggs.
Diaz made waves in Japan in 2007, submitting Takanori Gomi after a back-and-forth brawl at PRIDE 33 (later overturned to a No Contest after Diaz tested positive for marijuana) and became the Strikeforce welterweight champion in 2010.
The MMA veteran re-signed with the UFC in 2011, putting on a boxing clinic against B.J. Penn at UFC 137 but losing in subsequent title fights to Carlos Condit and Georges St-Pierre.
Diaz last fought in the Octagon against former middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva at UFC 183, originally losing a unanimous decision before it was revealed that the ‘The Spider’ tested positive for steroids. Diaz, a Cesar Gracie Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt, also tested positive for marijuana metabolites and received a reduced suspension of 18 months and $100,000 fine.
Although Diaz has been out of action for over three years, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the fan favorite return to the UFC in a headlining or co-headlining bout, preferably on the same card as younger brother Nate.