Nick Diaz may be close to returning to MMA for the first time in nearly six years, but the road to a comeback hasn’t been easy for the Stockton star.
Diaz, who completed a test weight cut earlier this month while announcing his intentions to return to fighting sometime in 2021, hasn’t competed inside of the cage since fighting Anderson Silva in a no contest back at UFC 183. That was nearly six years ago, and it is the only time we’ve seen Diaz compete since his title fight loss to Georges St-Pierre back in 2013.
That’s quite incredible, especially considering Nick’s brother, Nate, has become one of the biggest stars in the sport over the past five years. You would think Diaz would have made his comeback sooner rather than later in effort to ride the family momentum.
Instead, Diaz has dedicated his time to other things outside of the cage and never made his awaited return to competition. MMA veteran Jake Shields, who has been training alongside Diaz for the longest time, believes the former Strikeforce middleweight champion may have been partying just a little too much during his downtime.
“I think maybe there was one point where he got a little out of control,” Shields told SiriusXM (shown below). “But we knew that he would be back in. People gotta realize, I’ve been partying since I was 14. So for me it’s like, I’d have a fight, party, it was normal.
"I think we're seeing the old Nick coming back." @jakeshieldsajj talks about Nick Diaz's partying days, and says that Nick has reined that part of his life in ahead of a potential MMA return. @RyanMcKinnell @MieshaTate pic.twitter.com/Lz4fBBRbD5— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) September 10, 2020
“But Nick never drank, never did anything other than smoke pot obviously,” continued Shields. “He was completely dedicated to just train, train, train. So I think while he did go that way for a little bit, got a little out of control, he’s reigning it back in.
“I think he’s got that part of his life over, he’s not out in Vegas all the time anymore, he’s back training. I think we’re seeing the old Nick coming back.”
Diaz, 37, has always seemed to stay in shape by competing in triathlons and helping Nate train for his own UFC fights. It’s surprising that Diaz, who is more known for his marijuana use, would turn to alcohol and lose control.
That said, Diaz seems to be coming back around and abstaining from anything that would hamper his potential return to the cage. Shields is seeing it firsthand and believes his long-time friend and training partner is very close to a comeback fight. UFC just has to pay up to get Diaz back in the cage and competing to see if he’s still one of the best all-around fighters in the world.
“I think the only big sticking point with him is money, because he knows he’s a big star and wants to get paid,” explained Shields. “He doesn’t want to get ripped off. We all know people are going to tune in for a Nick Diaz pay-per-view. Dana can act like that’s not true but everyone knows people want to watch him fight.”
Unfortunately for Diaz, UFC president Dana White doesn’t seem too excited about a potential return. That’s because White has been down this road before with both Diaz brothers and never seems to be able to get a deal done when he wants to. Fight fans will have to wait and see how this plays out, but things certainly seem to be heating up.
What do you think, Maniacs? Does Nick Diaz make his return to fighting in 2021? If so, against who?