The MMA world has vibrated to rumors of a Nick Diaz return in 2021.
The Diaz brothers are two of the most popular fighters in MMA history. But for the last five years, Nate has carried the Diaz brand.
His bouts against Conor McGregor and Jorge Masvidal have seen the pair’s stock skyrocket, and it seems as though Nick is eyeing up a return to the limelight.
Fans have been waiting for a Diaz return since Januray 2015. After failing a drugs test following his unanimous decision loss to Anderson Silva, Diaz faced a heavy 5-year suspension for marijuana use. And even though this was reduced to 18-months, Nick has yet to return to the sport.
However, according to his manager, Kevin Mubenga, Diaz is “100 percent” planning to fight again and is eyeing a return some time in 2021.
According to Mubenga Diaz has just completed a 14-week diet that sees his weight sitting between 165-175 lbs. This is first mock weight cut Diaz has completed since his suspension, and he looks to be in shape in the many videos that have circulated in the wake of this rumour.
But not everybody is convinced. It seems like rumors of a Nick Diaz return pop up every year, and there’s good reason to be skeptical. As Dana White explains, Nick and the UFC have “been talking for years” with little success. “I don’t have any expectations whatsoever,” the UFC boss said at a press conference.
But if Diaz is to make a comeback, there are still question marks around how he fits into the division.
You would imagine that Diaz is looking for a big pay-day upon his return, and as such it’s hard to imagine him facing an up-and-coming prospect.
But its hard to make the case for him to fight any of the division’s top competitors. The Stockton native is on a 2-fight losing streak, and after such a long layoff, Diaz will need something of a warmup if he is to compete at the highest level.
There are, however, two fighters that would be perfect for Diaz.
#1 – Donald Cerrone
Like Diaz, Cerrone is a fan-favorite. Despite a four-fight losing streak, Cerrone is still a big name.
Fans love him for his exciting fighting style, and his old-school mentality pairs perfectly with the gangsta Diaz-attitude.
Combine this with the fact that Cerrone has already fought Nick’s younger brother, and the storyline is there to be sold.
It’s also a great fight for the division. This matchup doesn’t mess with the rankings too much. But it gives each fighter a good opportunity to earn a shot at another contender.
And with each fighter’s popularity, it could earn both fighters a healthy payday as they wind down their fighting careers.
#2 – Robbie Lawler
Like Cerrone, Lawler has been on the wrong end of the results recently. He’s lost 4 in his last 5, and is staring down the barrel of a long slog back to the top of the division.
Similarly then, this fight has little impact in terms of rankings. But again, it gives the winner a chance to face an established contender.
But what’s special about this fight, in my opinion, is the history between the two fighters.
UFC 47 was held in April 2004. Headlined by a Light Heavyweight title matchup between rivals Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz, the card featured a tantalizing matchup between two then-prospects: Robbie Lawler and Nick Diaz.
Coming in as a heavy underdog, Diaz wowed fans with an impressive knockout of “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler. The fight was a back-and-forth brawl, that helped introduce both fighters to the world of MMA.
Today, both fighters are in the twilight of their careers. And it’s unlikely either of them is going to compete for the belt anytime soon. But this fight is a great opportunity for both to make some money as they head off into the sunset.
And most importantly, its guaranteed to be a violent spectacle.
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