If Nick Diaz is ready to return to the UFC, he could have a No. 1 contender’s bout staring him right in the face.
Diaz has been cleared to fight for several months after rectifying his situation with the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Diaz was handed an 18-month suspension and fine following a positive drug test for marijuana surrounding his last bout against Anderson Silva in 2015.
UFC president Dana White says he tried to make a fight between Diaz and former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler, but the Stockton, Calif. native turned the fight down for reasons unknown.
“I offered Nick Diaz the (Robbie) Lawler fight and he turned it down. Lawler accepted the fight and Nick turned it down so I’m looking for something else for Lawler right now,” White revealed on the latest “UFC Unfiltered” podcast.
“(Diaz’s team) were terrorizing me saying ‘we want a fight’ so they wanted to announce it that night at the Sacramento card (at FOX UFC Fight Night). Cause he was there, it’s the right crowd, it’s close to his hometown and they wanted to announce it. I got Robbie Lawler to accept the fight, I called him, and they turned it down and they’ve been radio silent on me ever since.”
Diaz actually knocked out Lawler in their previous meeting at UFC 47 all the way back in 2004 and it appears he had no interest in a rematch.
With the Lawler fight no longer on the table, White has now reached out to Diaz again to see if he’s interested in a fight with top-ranked middleweight contender Demian Maia instead.
“I just reached out to (Diaz’s team) and said what do you guys think about a fight with Demian Maia? I haven’t heard back from them yet,” White said. “If Nick doesn’t take it, I’ll give it to (Jorge) Masvidal.”
Maia has put together an incredible winning streak recently, including wins over former interim champion Carlos Condit as well as prolific knockout artist Matt Brown.
Maia has insisted in recent months that he’s going to sit and wait to face the winner of the upcoming welterweight title fight between Tyron Woodley and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, but a showdown with a star as big as Diaz might entice him to return to action sooner.
For now the proposed Maia vs. Diaz fight remains just a rumor but it’s clear White and the UFC are hoping to put the matchup together.