Diaz may return — if he gets title shot


The more Nick Diaz talks, the less you know what he’s trying to say.

But for whatever reason, it’s impossible to tune him out.

Diaz is still retired, he told a small group of reporters backstage at UFC 170, the Ultimate Fighting Championship event at Mandalay Bay on Saturday night. But he might be willing to come back to fight for the welterweight title sometime this summer as long as he has finished moving.

Seriously.

Diaz has not fought in the UFC since dropping a decision to Georges St. Pierre in March 2013. It was his second consecutive loss in a UFC welterweight title fight. Diaz soon after announced he was leaving the sport because he had grown tired of opponents just trying to outpoint him in fights.

He may be willing to come back, however, if, and only if, the UFC offers him a fight against the winner of the March fight between Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler for the vacant belt.

Despite losing two straight title fights, Diaz said he absolutely deserves another shot even though he hasn’t fought in a year because he remains one of the more popular fighters in the world, particularly in a welterweight division now devoid of the semi-retired St. Pierre.

“Bottom line, I’m the only draw here,” Diaz said.

Then, he attempted to explain his time away from the cage.

“Right now, I’m going through a little bit of indecisiveness, running around here and there and getting some things done, and at the same time, trying to move out of my house,” the 30-year-old Northern Californian said. “It’s been hard to do exactly what I want to do, as far as training and everything like that. That’s what I’m trying to square away right now. This whole year I’ve been using to take care of myself, because I didn’t have a lot of people taking care of me while I was doing these fights.”

UFC president Dana White had yet to hear about Diaz’s desire to take a title fight when asked about the possibility by a reporter. White said as far as he knew, Diaz was still retired.

“He hasn’t told me that. I haven’t heard a word from him,” White said. “I haven’t even heard from Nick Diaz. He called and asked for tickets. I don’t know. It’s not even worth talking about. He hasn’t fought, he hasn’t wanted a fight, and he’s not even in the picture.”

Apparently White was unaware of how difficult and time-consuming it is to move.

■ UFC MATCHES MELENDEZ OFFER — The UFC announced late Sunday night it had agreed to a new contract with top lightweight contender Gilbert Melendez, ending a week of speculation on the fighter’s future in the organization.

After negotiations between Melendez’s management team and the organization reached an impasse, Melendez announced he had come to terms on a deal with rival Bellator Fighting Championships.

The UFC remained coy about whether or not it planned to exercise its matching rights on the deal, but ended the drama with Sunday’s announcement.

Melendez, a frequent studio analyst for ESPN’s mixed martial arts coverage, spoke to ESPN.com late Sunday.

He said that while he was ready to compete for Bellator, he was happy the UFC decided to match the offer.

“You better believe it,” the 31-year-old Californian told the website. “(Bellator has) two awesome (lightweight) fighters in Michael Chandler and Eddie Alvarez, but UFC is the home of the best fighters in the world.

“Sometimes, you have to put your emotions aside and think about your future and your family. At the end of the day, I got the best of both worlds.”

In addition to the new contract, details of which were not disclosed, Melendez will get a title shot against lightweight champion Anthony Pettis later this year.

Melendez and Pettis will coach against each other on the upcoming Season 20 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” The show, featuring an all-female cast of strawweight fighters, begins filming in Las Vegas in May. The episodes begin airing on Fox Sports 1 on Sept. 10.

Because the division is new to the UFC, the winner of Season 20 will be crowned the organization’s first strawweight champion.

Melendez will challenge Pettis at the conclusion of the season, likely in December.

■ SILVA UPDATE — Former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva is recovering remarkably well from the broken leg he suffered in a loss to Chris Weidman at UFC 168 at MGM Grand in December.

Silva posted a video on social media this week of himself walking without assistance.

White said the UFC doctor brought him X-rays of Silva’s leg that showed “crazy” bone growth already.

“He said sometimes you don’t see that kind of bone growth in people over a couple years,” White said.

White plans to visit Silva on Wednesday and said he remains optimistic the 39-year-old Silva could fight again as soon as the end of the year.

Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.

 

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