Nick Diaz is still "retired" from mixed martial arts, but Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) insists that the former No. 1 Welterweight contender is still on its roster.
Several months ago, UFC President Dana White insisted that he hadn't spoken to Diaz about a potential return to the Octagon, and when rumors swirled that he would emerge from self-imposed premature retirement to fight former Light Heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, it was chalked up to just a "bad idea."
Since then it's been more of the same, radio silence out of Stockton, Calif., with White speculating that Diaz has some "kickback money" from his loss to 170-pound champion Georges St. Pierre trickling in, which means that he can "probably take as long as he wants to fight again."
His good friend and long-time training partner, Gilbert Melendez, weighed-in on the situation earlier this afternoon, informing MMAFighting.com that Diaz is currently in fight shape thanks to his non-stop participation in triathlons and helping others get prepared for fights. Indeed, Diaz has more than likely been busy assisting "El Nino" train for his upcoming Lightweight battle against Diego Sanchez this weekend (Oct. 19, 2013) at UFC 166.
"I think with the right opportunity, for the right thing, he'll come out. Whether it's boxing, whether it's kickboxing, whether it's whatever, some sort of challenge would be great. I don't think he has the desire to be a stepping stone or he doesn't want to play that role. Sometimes you have to come back up the ladder in your career and I don't think he wants that. I think he wants to fight top-level competition. He doesn't need to fight just to take it."
Diaz has been outspoken in the past about wanting to challenge the Middleweight champion, calling out the winner of Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman at UFC 162 earlier this year (more details here). In fact, well before the match went down, White exclaimed that it "made no sense" and "wouldn't happen."
It appears, then, that Diaz and White are at loggerheads -- the former wants too much, while the latter isn't offering enough "name" value.
That could have all changed earlier this evening, however, with top 185-pound contender Michael Bisping expressing interest in a future fight with Diaz. Upon hearing that Diaz was perhaps just waiting for the right opportunity, "The Count" took to Twitter.com with a British olive branch.
@arielhelwani well if Diaz wants a fight at 185 I would happily welcome him to the division.— michael (@bisping) October 14, 2013
Bisping, of course, recently suffered a detached retina in his right eye (see pic here), which forced the longtime Middleweight fringe championship contender out of a meaningful divisional showdown with Mark Munoz at UFC Fight Night 30 event, which is set to pop off later this month in Manchester, England.
The good news is that Bisping will likely be cleared to return to action in early 2014. Whether or not Diaz clears himself for a similar comeback remains to be seen, even though it sounds about right to me.