A tumultuous year that saw Diaz lose an interim UFC welterweight title fight followed by a year long suspension from the sport after a positive drug test for marijuana made the Stockton, Calif., native opt for retirement instead of continuing on with the fight game.
A few months later, however, according to his manager and trainer Cesar Gracie, Diaz is back in the gym, working hard and will return to fighting when his suspension is up.
“For the last couple of months I’ve watched Nick begin to frequent the gym more and more. He’s training harder now than he has for many of his fights. It was obvious that training and fighting is in his DNA. It is who he is,” Gracie wrote Friday on his website GracieFighter.com.
“This week we had a great talk and he made it clear to me that he is ready to get back to the cage. Nick Diaz will return.”
Gracie says that they are continuing to deal with the court system to hopefully overturn Diaz’s year long suspension, which would see him out until at least February 2013, and if they can get the result they long for, Diaz would love to return later this year.
“To address the NSAC suspension, I will say that we have appealed to the courts and if things go our way, it will be plausible that Nick could return as early as sometime at the end of this year,” said Gracie.
“For too long NSAC bureaucrats have acted with malicious incompetence towards the fighters. We will challenge them in court.”
Regardless of that pending action, Diaz is already looking ahead at potential opponents and says he only wants fights that “matter.”
Diaz’s dream fight would still be against UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, but he’s tied up in November with a title fight against Carlos Condit, the man that defeated Diaz back in February.
With that fight out of the realm of possibility, Diaz has turned his attention to the biggest fight he could think of, both literally and figuratively.
“As far as future opponents, Nick has stated that he would like to take fights ‘that matter.’ Since GSP will be fighting Condit, he has to look elsewhere. He will respectfully ask for a fight with Anderson Silva, a fighter he respects and would like to challenge,” Gracie wrote.
“Silva’s camp has been speaking of a fight with GSP, possibly even at a catch weight. Nick will take that fight in a minute, but has told me that should Silva decide not to drop at all, he will move up to 185 pounds to face the champ.”
Diaz has dabbled at higher weights before picking up wins over both Frank Shamrock and Scott Smith while competing in Strikeforce.
Silva’s managers have both been vocal at their desire for the UFC’s reigning middleweight champion to face only top competition or step into a “super fight” situation against somebody like St-Pierre.
According to Silva’s representatives, the Brazilian legend has little desire to face names like Chris Weidman or Tim Boetsch.
So is Nick Diaz a name that would entice Anderson Silva?
Gracie plans on meeting with UFC president Dana White next week to discuss the possibility.
“I will be meeting with Dana next Monday August 6th to discuss this and other issues,” said Gracie. “If you appreciate Nick’s fighting style, please let Dana know that you want Nick back ASAP.”