A massive MMA event took place on Saturday April 24, 2021. The event was UFC 261 and came to us from Jacksonville, Florida. The entire card was stacked from top-to-bottom and included 3 title fights that didn't fail to give great moments. Those moments are not why we are here. Stockton's own, Nick Diaz (26-9) is why we are here.
Stockton native and MMA legend Nick Diaz was in attendance at UFC 261. There was speculation that if main event title challenger Jorge Masvidal were to win, he'd call out Diaz. That didn't happen since Masvidal was put to sleep in a super necessary way by Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in the 1st round.
Instead, UFC President Dana White spoke a little about Nick Diaz in his post-fight press conference. White confirmed Diaz wants to fight and that he is open to him fighting in the UFC again. White also said that he would be meeting with Diaz right after the press conference. Unfortunately, no details have emerged of what was said during that meeting.
A potential return of Nick Diaz is massive for his fans, the sport of MMA and the UFC. The Diaz name is one of the most known in the sport. Nick Diaz, the older brother of Nate, is known for fantastic fisticuffs, outlandish behavior and comments, along with an unfortunate suspension for a positive marijuana test after his last fight against fellow MMA great Anderson Silva in 2015.
Even after 6 years without fighting, Nick Diaz is still a fighter that peeks the interest of fans. He's still highly marketable and would be welcomed back by most fans with open arms. This was put on notice when the UFC 261 coverage showed Nick Diaz on the in-arena screen, along with fans watching at home on Pay-Per-View. The pop from the crowd in the arena for Nick Diaz showed there is still a ton of interest for the 37 year old fighter out of Stockton.
With interest from Nick Diaz, the UFC and Dana White, along with the fans, there isn't a better time to return to fighting then now. All Diaz needs now is a dance partner. Read on to see the 6 potential opponents for a Nick Diaz return.
Nick Diaz Versus!?
Carlos Condit (32-13). The 2 have faced each other before, so they know each other well. Way back at UFC 143 in February of 2012, Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit were the main event where they fought for the Interim Welterweight Championship. Carlos Condit got his hands raised that night and won by unanimous decision in what was one of the best fights in 2012. Now, almost a decade later running the fight back would make a lot of sense and would be welcomed by fans of both due to their fight style.
Robbie Lawler (28-15). Another fight against a potential opponent for Nick Diaz where the 2 have ZFDfaced each other. Diaz and Robbie Lawler threw down at UFC 47 in 2004. Diaz won in spectacular fashion when he KO'ed Lawler in the 2nd round of the fight. 17 years later, a matchup between the 2 former MMA champions has high potential to still be exciting and a straight brawl.
Jorge Masvidal (35-15). Having fought Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in his last 2 fights, and losing both times, the latest at UFC 261 by 1st round KO, it might be time for Jorge Masvidal to hit the reset button. Masvidal still holds the BMF (Baddest Mother Fucker) title, which he won by beating Nate Diaz, Nick's younger brother, in the 3rd round via a controversial doctor stoppage at UFC 244 in November of 2019. This could be a fight that gets Nick Diaz back into the Octagon in order to try to avenge a loss of his brother. The storyline would be great. The 2 fighters would talk shit to build the fight up. Finally and most importantly, the fight would likely be fantastic.
Matt Brown (22-18). Much like every other fighter mentioned, Matt Brown is closer to the twilight of his fighting career than the beginning. But that doesn't mean he, or they, can't still throw down. Matt Brown is 40 years young, and has lost 7 of his last 10 fights. His last loss was to the aforementioned Carlos Condit in January. Brown can still hang with fighters that are on the older side. Nick Diaz and Matt Brown would be an exciting fight.
Dan Hardy (25-10). This fight likely won't happen and might not even come up in names for Nick Diaz to square off with, but if Dan Hardy and Diaz were to fight it would be fire works. Dan Hardy hasn't fought since 2012, nearly a decade away from being in the cage against a real opponent. Hardy has hinted at a return for a while, but how real the return really is, only Hardy knows. Dan Hardy is worth mentioning as an opponent for Nick Diaz just for the shear fact that the fight would be awesome.
Mike Perry (14-8). A fighter younger than those mentioned before, but one that still has a lot of fights. Mike Perry is on a 2 fight losing streak, and desperately needs something good to happen for him inside of the Octagon. Perry brings to the fight a current name that is constantly spoken about and in the news, for good and bad. Mike Perry would be down for this fight, but if Nick Diaz think he's worthy enough to return for is another question.
If, and hopefully when, Nick Diaz returns, he needs an opponent that will stand and trade with him and keep him active, otherwise boredom will set in and the fight could get awkward. Diaz has a phenomenal arsenal and would be fine with the fight standing or taking place on the mat. Diaz' weapons or fight intelligence aren't in question. What's in question is if he's really serious about returning to the Octagon. Without question, most fans who watched MMA when Diaz was consistently fighting would welcome Nick Diaz back, it's the newer generation of fan that needs to get on board. And even if they don't, and he returns, maybe they'll open their eyes to what a fantastic fighter Nick Diaz really is. Hopefully his opponent is a fighter mentioned above, because then we can be assured the return of Nick Diaz will be fantastic.