Opinion: The Possible Return of Nick Diaz
By Jesse Heitz
With UFC 171 in the books, the newly shuffled UFC Welterweight Division marches on into a new future full of a wide array of possibilities. Men like Tyron Woodley, the recently defeated Robbie Lawler, Rory MacDonald, and Hector Lombard, all look to further shakeup the division before the newly crowned champion returns from elbow surgery.
Despite the outstanding level of talent the welterweight division currently has—all of them working diligently to establish themselves as certifiable contenders, one well-recognized name has been thrust back into the discussion, that name is Nick Diaz.
As can be read here at Full Contact Fighter, former standout and UFC Welterweight contender Nick Diaz has announced that he’s ready to fight again. He even made himself quite noticeable at UFC 171, opting afterword to interject himself into discussions about the division’s future and Hendricks’ title winning performance.
In an interview published by the Bleacher Report, Diaz stated,
“For once, [the UFC] bought me an actual ticket, and said, ‘Hey, we’d love to have you out.’ So I was like, ‘That’s new.’ I’m here and they start interviewing me, they actually want to hear me talk. Maybe they want me to fight Johny Hendricks. Take an ass-whooping, right to your face, bro, worse than tonight because you got your ass whooped all four rounds. I seen it, I seen the little amateur style…”
“I’m going to try to get a fight this year, talked to Dana, hardly, but he knows where my mind is at,” Diaz said. “That’s what’s up. I need a title fight, I need a real fight. They need to let the fans have what they want to see. That’s why I’m here, to get something going. No [Rory MacDonald, Hector Lombard, etc.].”
Yes, that’s correct, Nick Diaz has apparently unretired and not only wants a fight in the promotion he stepped away from and attempted to compete against, he wants an immediate title shot against Johny Hendricks. I must admit that I’m baffled by this fellow. I truly can’t recall another fighter that behaves this way. Personally I’m of the opinion that Diaz needs to get to the back of the line.
In my world, that of a MMA writer and fan, title shots—much less those for the most prestigious promotion in the sport, are earned not given. To an extent I could understand giving a relative “outsider” a title shot straight away if a given weight division had been thoroughly cleaned out by the current titleholder, but that isn’t the case her at all.
There is absolutely no argument that can be given as to why a guy who was tired of fighting and subsequently retired should be allowed to step back in for an immediate payday—something Diaz makes no efforts to hide. In no way should the UFC’s Welterweight Championship be cheapened by allowing a guy who lost his last two fights in the promotion—then taking his ball and going home, to challenge for that title without having to prove himself like everyone else first.