On a night when the welterweight division was in the spotlight, one of its most notable stars made an interesting announcement.
Nick Diaz hasn’t fought since retiring after a unanimous decision loss to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 158 last March, however the popular and polarizing fighter appears set for a comeback and he wants a title shot.
“I’m ready to fight,” Diaz told Showdown Joe Ferraro following UFC 171 Saturday in Dallas. “I’m ready to fight the right fight.”
Mere moments after Johny Hendricks defeated Robbie Lawler in the main event to claim the vacant welterweight title, Diaz called out the new champion.
“Johny Hendricks, take an ass-whooping right to your face, bro, worse than tonight. You got your ass whooped [by Lawler],” said the colourful Diaz, who explained the UFC bought him a ticket and invited him to the event.
The former Strikeforce champion was regarded as one of the top welterweights in MMA prior to his retirement, but retired on a two-fight losing skid and hasn’t won a fight since beating B.J. Penn in October 2011.
Diaz, who still trains regularly, said he’s only interested in a big fight if he returns to the promotion and suggested a bout with Hendricks would be the best matchup the UFC could make.
“Everybody’s going to make more money, fans get to see what they want to see,” Diaz said regarding a meeting with Hendricks. “You want to see people get tapped out or knocked out? You want to see a real fight? You want to see real mother [expletives] act real?”
The 30-year-old Stockton Calif., native added: “We don’t have no beef. I like Johny. I think he’s a nice guy. It’s all business, Johny. Let’s get a fight.”
Since GSP vacated the title in December, the 170-pound division has become wide open and after UFC 171 there is no clear No. 1 contender. UFC president Dana White said that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
“That’s a good problem to have,” White told Sportsnet. “It’s a good problem to have so many guys that we can’t decide who we want to see fight.”
Contenders like Tyron Woodley and Hector Lombard, who were each victorious at UFC 171, have made cases as to why they should be next in line for a title shot, while others feel Canadian Rory MacDonald is deserving.
“We’ll figure it out,” White said.
Diaz (26-9, 1 NC) dismissed the idea of fighting contenders such as Lombard or MacDonald.
“I need a title fight. I need a real fight,” Diaz said. “They can let the fans have what they want to see…Try to get a fight this year. I talk to Dana, hardly, but he knows where my mindset is at. Behind the scenes here everybody knows what’s going on and that’s what’s up.”