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Is the UFC targeting Nick Diaz vs. Kevin Holland?

Nick Diaz might return to the Octagon in 2022.

Nick Diaz before he faced Robbie Lawler at UFC 266.
Nick Diaz before he faced Robbie Lawler at UFC 266.
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

After a six-year hiatus Nick Diaz returned to action at September’s UFC 266. There he lost a tough fight via TKO (retirement) to former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler (a man he defeated back in 2004).

With Diaz being one of the more popular figures the sport has ever known, plenty of fans are wondering if they will see one of Stockton’s Finest step back into the Octagon again. According to Chael Sonnen, those fans have reason to be optimistic.

MMA Junkie reports that Sonnen believes the UFC are working on a bout between Diaz and Kevin Holland, who recently dropped down to welterweight. However, they added, the UFC have not yet put the wheels in motion on this bout.

Holland told MMA Junkie it’s a match-up he’s extremely interested in. “I been waiting to slap the slap man since I was on Contender Series,” he said to that outlet. “We had a little run in. I think it’s a fight the fans will want the commentators to just shut up and listen to the punches landing and our mouths flapping.”

Diaz has 38 pro bouts under his belt and was a fixture of the 2000s MMA scene, both in the UFC and Strikeforce. He won the Strikeforce welterweight title in 2010 and defended it on three occasions before he, and Strikeforce, were acquired by ZUFFA.

In the UFC he challenged Georges St-Pierre for the 170 lb title at UFC 158 in 2013. He lost that bout by unanimous decision.

Two years later he took a no contest opposite Anderson Silva. The fight was ruled a unanimous decision win for Silva on the night, but was overturned when Silva tested positive for banned substances.

Diaz’s career was then plagued with fines and suspensions from both USADA and the Nevada State Athletic Commission imposed because of marijuana use. Marijuana is no longer classified as a banned substance by either of those organisations.

Kevin Holland followed up an impressive 2020, which included five UFC wins and a KO of Jacare Souza, with a disappointing 2021. In March he was thoroughly beaten by Derek Brunson, losing by unanimous decision. That was followed by a lopsided decision loss to Marvin Vettori in April. Both of those fights were five-round main events.

Most recently Holland had a no contest with Kyle Daukaus. That fight was initially ruled a submission win for Daukaus. However, that was overturned after it was determined Holland was the victim of an accidental headbutt.

Holland was scheduled to face Daukaus in a rematch last month, but he was forced to pull out of that fight due to injury.