It’s coming up on six years since Nick Diaz last stepped into a cage, and nearly nine since he last won a fight.
But if the former Strikeforce welterweight champion and ex-UFC title challenger is coming back – and his manager says that’s his intention – he’ll probably have a bevy of potential opponents lining up to fight him.
Count a fellow former welterweight title challenger among those throwing a hat in the ring – albeit very early: Darren Till.
Till (18-3-1 MMA, 6-3-1 UFC) posted on Twitter that he’d gladly welcome Diaz (26-9 MMA, 7-6 UFC) back to the game.
“If @nickdiaz209 wants to come back & scrap, who’s the biggest star, fight & best fight for him outside the Middleweight champ.? Fucking me that’s who… ,” Till posted.
Diaz returned to the UFC in 2011 on a 10-fight winning streak as the Strikeforce champ. He fought former UFC lightweight and welterweight champ B.J. Penn at UFC 137 and won a unanimous decision in a “Fight of the Night.”
In February 2012, Diaz fought Carlos Condit for the interim welterweight title, but lost a decision. He also tested positive for marijuana and was suspended a year. Even though he was coming off a loss and a suspension, when he returned in March 2013, he fought Georges St-Pierre for the welterweight belt, but again lost a decision.
In January 2015, he fought former middleweight titleholder Anderson Silva at UFC 183. Silva won a unanimous decision, but tested positive for banned substances and had the win overturned. But Diaz tested positive for marijuana for a third time. He initially was suspended for five years by the Nevada Athletic Commission, though that suspension eventually was reduced.
Till, after a 17-0-1 start to his career, has dropped three of his past four fights. He was submitted by Tyron Woodley in an attempt to win the welterweight title at UFC 228. In March 2019, Jorge Masvidal knocked him out to start a three-fight run that earned him “Fighter of the Year” honors.
Till jumped back to middleweight and took a split call from Kelvin Gastelum in November 2019. But in July, he lost a decision to former 185-pound champ Robert Whittaker at the UFC’s “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi.