by Ivan Trembow and Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
Nick Diaz has signed a two-fight contract with Pride and will make his Pride debut on the promotion’s February 24th event in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Diaz will be cutting to lightweight for his fight at Pride 33 on February 24th, and he expects to face a top-level opponent. Pride previously announced the participation of two lightweights on the Pride 33 card: Takanori Gomi and Hayato “Mach” Sakurai, who are the #1 and #2 Lightweights in the MMAWeekly Rankings.
Though it’s not known who Diaz will be fighting, Gomi and Sakurai are two of the many possibilities. If Diaz does fight Gomi, it will not be for Gomi’s Pride Lightweight Title, as Pride previously announced that Gomi’s fight at Pride 33 will be a non-title fight.
Earlier this week, it was announced that Diaz signed with the Showtime-backed Elite Xtreme Combat, for which he is expected to make his debut in May. Diaz’ contracts with Pride and EXC do not conflict with each other, as EXC has no problem with non-exclusive contracts, and Pride entered its negotiations with Diaz knowing that he was already under contract with EXC.
Regardless of who Diaz fights at Pride 33, he will be fighting at Pride’s lightweight limit of 160 pounds. The lightweight limit for MMA in the United States is usually 155 pounds, but promotions like Pride also have the option of holding fights at “catch weights” such as 160 pounds.
The 23-year-old Diaz normally fights at 170 pounds and is currently the #9-ranked 170-pound fighter in the MMAWeekly Rankings.
Diaz is a UFC veteran who won the last two fights on his UFC contract at UFC 62 and UFC 65, respectively. Diaz had been scheduled to face Thomas “Wildman” Denny on the Gracie Fighting Championships event on January 20th, but the event was postponed.