Why Nick Diaz is Still One of the Biggest Names in MMA – Whether He Fights Again Or Not
If Nick Diaz came back and fought Conor McGregor on January 18, 2020, I probably wouldn’t hate it. Well, I wouldn’t love it either, but after Diaz recently spoke with ESPN host Ariel Helwani during a pre-recorded interview that was released on Monday, it’s the perfect time to imagine what might happen if Nick decides to make good on his proposed return to the Octagon.
Listening to Nick, the older brother of MMA superstar Nate Diaz, speak during the 50-minute segment, there was quite a lot to digest, in between moments of incoherency. The words may not have flowed, but there was quite a lot that was said, especially in regards to UFC BMF champion Jorge Masvidal.
A bonafide mixed martial arts legend, Nick Diaz has not fought in close to five years, and it has been eight years since the last time he won a mixed martial arts fight. None of this particularly matters though, because he’s Nick Diaz, and he still commands attention and respect within the MMA and combat sports community for his accolades and accomplishments inside the cage, which include a pair of world titles and numerous classic fights.
He was essentially MMA’s original BMF before his younger brother invented the fictitious title that became a reality at UFC 244, even explaining that the title really should be his to defend. Afterall, Nate is his “baby brother,” so we should already know how the pecking order in the Diaz household works.
Now the big question is, will Diaz return to the UFC, and will he attempt to avenge his brother’s recent loss at UFC 244 and take on Masvidal?
It’s been a rough few years for Diaz, who has used his time away from the cage to famously party on the Las Vegas strip. His name has been attached to (unproven) rape allegations, and of course a burgeoning CBD business, Game Up Nutrition. Throughout years of turmoil, Diaz has managed to continue his Nick Diaz Academy in Stockton, California and is in the process of opening up a new location in West Hollywood by the end of November. All the while, his younger brother Nate moved into the spotlight that was once reserved for Nick, choking out Conor McGregor en route to record Pay Per View sales and massive mainstream adulation.
While it was the McGregor fight that propelled Nate to the big time, Nick’s name is still hovering in underground territory. He’s the original badass who laid the blueprint for an entire generation of fighters, and now it might just be time for Diaz the elder to capitalize on a mega fight, while reminding the world who the original BMF is.
A fight against Masvidal seems like the most logical move.
Just moments after the segment concluded, many in the MMA space came out publicly to express their lack of interest in seeing Diaz fight again.
Pundits pointed out that Diaz was slurring his speech during the interview and was constantly unable to find the right words to express what he was thinking. But what do you expect from a guy who never took a step backward in any fight and always stuck it to the man with every punch and kick thrown? He was never the most eloquent speaker to begin with and deals with severe social anxiety.
Critics then pointed to Diaz’s current five year layoff, stating that such a long amount of time away from the cage might be a little too much to warrant a return to action. Digging deeper into his resume, naysayers also commented on how Diaz’s last win was against B.J. Penn, another UFC legend whose own career has fallen into major disrepair, both in and out of the Octagon.
Honestly, all of these points are legitimate, but the fight game is a vampire, constantly thirsty for blood, and Diaz has always been willing to spill his in the center of the Octagon for the combat gods to sip like the finest of spirits. So, if the man insists on making a comeback, he should be taken as seriously as the knockouts and submissions he dished out during the 14 years he spent entertaining the world with some of the most exceptionally violent exhibitions in the history of combat.
During the ESPN segment, Diaz spent time focusing on newly minted UFC BMF champion Masvidal, taking exception with remarks concerning “baptizing” Diaz the younger at UFC 244. Protective of his kin, Nick Diaz believes Masvidal was completely out of line with the comments and is using the slogan to lay the groundwork for a potential future fight, perhaps even for the BMF title.
Diaz and Masvidal were actually linked to a fight years ago; however, Nick explained that he never signed a bout agreement and never even really considered the previous bout, despite the fact that a poster image leaked online featuring both fighters. Now, the fight seems like a very realistic possibility, especially as Masvidal is focused on money fights and big paychecks, something that Nick Diaz can provide given his cult status and massive following.
It’s still way too soon to welcome Nick Diaz back to the UFC, and, as such, UFC president Dana White has gone on record several times stating that he doesn’t believe Diaz will ever fight in the UFC again. Still, one can only imagine, and the possibility of a Nick Diaz vs. Jorge Masvidal fight is worth contemplating, over, and over, and over again.