After nearly four years of absence in the mixed martial scene, fans will get to see Nick Diaz don the four-ounce gloves again as he is reportedly returning to the Ultimate Fighting Championship cage next year.
UFC President Dana White told ESPN on Thursday that the promotion is ‘close to finalizing’ a welterweight bout between the former Strikeforce champion and Jorge Masvidal at UFC 235, which is scheduled on March 2, 2019, at the T-mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
— TheMacLife (@Maclifeofficial) November 16, 2018
The Stockton native last saw actions at UFC 183 nearly four years ago, where he fell short of overwhelming a tough opponent in Anderson Silva. Diaz suffered a decision loss to ‘The Spider’ but the fight was later overturned to a no contest after both fighters failed a drug test. Silva and Diaz tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs and marijuana respectively.
With the incident, the Nevada State Athletic Association served an 18-month suspension on the 35-year old fighter. In 2017, Diaz faced another suspension this time from the United States Anti-Doping Agency after failing another series of drug tests.
Diaz, who holds a 26-9 win-loss record, became eligible to professionally compete last April and according to the promotion chief, his return fight would be against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 235 next year. Brett Okamoto of ESPN announced it on Twitter.
Breaking: The UFC is close to finalizing Nick Diaz's return to the Octagon, per Dana White. The fight is Jorge Masvidal at UFC 235 on March 2 in Las Vegas. Diaz's first appearance in more than four years. Story coming soon to @ESPN.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) November 15, 2018
His future opponent, Masvidal, is fresh off a pair of decision loss from welterweight challengers Demian Maia and Stephen Thompson. But before these setbacks, the American fighter has piled up three-straight victories including huge wins over Jake Ellenberger and Donald Cerrone.
“Gamebred” hasn’t fought since November 2017 due to recurring injuries. He recently appeared on a Spanish reality television show called Exatlón Estados Unidos.
“The UFC offered us Nick Diaz and obviously we said yes. I would have loved to fight Nate, too — just because those guys are studs, man. All will. They don’t have the most skills in the division, but they have maybe the most will. You can beat the s— out of them — pain, fatigue — it doesn’t matter. And I’ve got a lot of those same qualities. My fan base knows I’m going in there to die trying,” said Masvidal.
Meanwhile, Diaz recently scored a legal victory when all domestic abuse charges against him were dropped last August. Will ‘Diablo’ pass his UFC return with flying colours or will Masvidal spoil the party?
(Featured Image Source: Instagram/Nick Diaz and Jorge Masvidal)