He indicated that his pseudo-retirement might become permanent if he was unable to get a rematch against Georges St-Pierre, a superfight with Anderson Silva, or another fight suitable of capturing his attention… a title fight perhaps.
Otherwise, Diaz might have been more than happy to just walk away from the fight game.
While he’s good at fighting, has been extremely successful, and fans love to watch him fight (and, perhaps, trash talk), Diaz isn’t in love with the fight game. For him, stepping into the Octagon has mostly been the way to pay the bills.
But he’s at a point in his career where he wants to fight big fights with big paydays, not just stumble through the remainder of his career. So he stayed out of the cage waiting for the right deal to come along.
That deal came along over the summer when UFC officials decided they wanted Diaz to be Anderson Silva’s first fight back after suffering a devastating broken leg last December. To make that happen, they offered Diaz a deal he wouldn’t refuse.
“I wasn’t going to walk out of there with something I wasn’t happy with,” Diaz said recently on The MMA Hour. “I was able to score a deal I can’t refuse. That’s how I look at it.”
The dollar signs flashed before him were likely a strong persuader, but more than that, Diaz was finally offered the fight that he has long wanted. He wasn’t interested in fighting his way up divisional rankings and a welterweight title shot was nowhere on the radar. But the fight with Silva, which will take place at middleweight, that’s a fight that made Diaz salivate.
“I look back and think about why did I take one of these mediocre level opponents or fights or something like that? I could see myself going, ‘I didn’t need to do that. I didn’t need to go there,’” he said of why he didn’t want to return and just fight whomever they threw in front of him.
“I’m not fanatical or in love with being an MMA fighter.”
At a point in his career where Diaz doesn’t have to take whatever fight is put before him, he can now look to the fights that make him want to wake up in the morning and go to the gym, that stir his desire to go to work.
“It’s just I’m the right guy for the job nowadays. Pretty much after my first couple pro fights I wound up being the right guy for the job,” he said. “So that’s why I’m still here, and I’ll fight the right fights if I have the opportunity.”
Diaz and Silva will square off in a five-round non-title fight in the UFC 183 headliner on Jan. 31 in Las Vegas.