With suspension over, possibilities are endless for Diaz
As of last Sunday, Nick Diaz has a lot to be excited about.
Diaz's 18-month suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) is now over, making him eligible to return to active competition, assuming he pays his $100,000 fine.
Originally handed a hefty five-year suspension and a whopping $165,000 fine after his third strike for marijuana, Diaz and the commission reached a settlement to get his penance reduced.
Now that his return is all but imminent, an already stacked UFC welterweight division will soon gain a lot more intrigue. Newly crowned division champion Tyron Woodley immediately called Diaz out for his first title defense after UFC 201 on Saturday. Diaz retorted on Monday via TMZ, saying he'd only fight Woodley as early as UFC 202 if made an offer he couldn't refuse.
"But I doubt that's going to happen. I'm not going to go after somebody if I don't have a reason behind it, so as soon as there is some sort of a reason for me to do something that I need to do, then I'll do it. Nobody's done what I've done in this sh-t. It just hasn't happened yet."
But now that Woodley has his sights set on a reportedly interested Georges Saint-Pierre, it could be awhile before Diaz fights for a title again, especially since No.1-ranked Stephen Thompson is, for all intents and purposes, next in line.
Realistically, Robbie Lawler, the man Woodley dethroned, makes perfect sense for Diaz's return fight. Both are coming off losses (Diaz's fight with Anderson Silva became a no-contest after Silva tested positive for steroids), most of the division's best have been booked for upcoming fights and most importantly, their styles would guarantee a barnburner. The matchup would also give Lawler an opportunity to avenge his decade-old knockout loss to Diaz.
Although the Stockton native hasn't had his hand raised since 2011, it's unlikely he'll fight someone outside of the top 15. Two of his last three fights were for the division title, the other against one of the sport's greatest in Silva. His brother Nate's quick ascension into stardom, partly thanks to Conor McGregor, has also helped preserve his stock, if only by association. In short, Diaz is no less a draw than he was before his temporary exile, and he knows it.
"I want to fight the best guy. You know what, I always want to fight the best guy, but the thing is I'm on top. I'm the one on top. They're dropping my name. I don't need no fake-ass piece of plastic. F-ck that. I could fight and we could do a catchweight too. Everybody wants to do a fight with me, champions at 170, champions at 185. I said we can meet halfway. I don't owe nobody nothing. I'm a pay-per-view without a title. I don't need that fake-ass plastic to beat somebody."
Should Diaz's next fight go down in Nevada, he'll have to provide clean urine 30, 15, and three days prior.