Nick Diaz was among the notable attendees at UFC 261, which took place at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, this weekend. When asked about the welterweight veteran's presence at the show, UFC president Dana White revealed that he's looking for a fight.
One of the most entertaining fighters the UFC has ever seen, Nick Diaz was banned by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for five years after his fight with Anderson Silva. The ban was lifted in 2016 after being reduced to 18 months, but we haven't seen him in action yet.
Here are 5 reasons why Nick Diaz's potential return to the UFC could end in bitter disappointment.
#5 Nick Diaz has taken a lot of damage
Nick Diaz has been through his fair share of wars, both in the UFC and outside. He has taken some significant damage over the course of a lifetime of fighting, and the early signs of it taking a toll on him have been visible in his speech.
Of Diaz's 37 professional fights, 12 have gone to a decision. He has never been knocked out, with his only two TKO losses coming by way of doctor stoppage and corner stoppage.
The scar tissue problem is another issue that plagued Diaz while he was active. Prone to cuts and bruises, the Stockton native went under the knife for a simple procedure in 2008 to "file down" the scar tissue on his face.
#4 MMA has evolved rapidly since Nick Diaz last fought
Nick Diaz last stepped into the Octagon at UFC 183 in January 2015, where he faced off against Anderson Silva. The bout was ruled a no-contest after both fighters failed post-fight drug tests; Diaz due to marijuana and Silva due to an anabolic steroid.
Since then, the MMA landscape has changed drastically. Anderson Silva has lost five of his six fights since taking on Diaz, although that can also be attributed to the brutal leg break he suffered against Chris Weidman at UFC 168.
The sport sees fighters press the pace much more nowadays, with emphasis on constantly being on the offensive. Fighters are also a lot more well-rounded and have fewer holes in their game when compared to five years ago.
MMA has evolved rapidly since Nick Diaz last fought, and while this may not directly impact him, it's certainly something that will have a say in the outcome of a potential fight.
#3 Nick Diaz has clear weaknesses in his game
Nick Diaz was a world-class competitor. He had an iron chin, his boxing was as good as anyone else in the game, and his excellent Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills played a hand in him gaining 8 submission victories over the course of his professional career.
But the blueprint to beating Nick Diaz is clear. The 37-year-old is highly susceptible to leg kicks, which have become instrumental in modern MMA. We've seen a number of injuries from leg kicks in the recent past, as well as a number of knockouts that have been set up by chopping away at the lead leg.
While Diaz is as tough as they come, this weakness might leave him horribly exposed. Carlos Condit edged a decision in 2012 with smart kicks from the outside, while Georges St-Pierre comfortably took him down and drowned him. Anderson Silva too consistently used side kicks to counter Diaz's forward movements.
#2 Nick Diaz is way past his prime
Nick Diaz doesn't have a lot of meaningful match-ups at welterweight, where he is expected to complete. Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit are among those who've been rumored to be possible opponents, but either fight might not have a major bearing on the division.
The UFC might opt to pit a young, up-and-coming fighter against Diaz, such as Khamzat Chimaev. Dana White refused to rule out the possibility of Diaz making a return against 'Borz', who hasn't competed in the UFC since suffering complications from COVID-19.
Such a match-up could prove to be deadly for Diaz, who's way past his prime at 37 years old. Chimaev and other prospects might overwhelm the veteran.
#1 Nick Diaz is bound to suffer from ring rust
This will undoubtedly be the most telling factor in Nick Diaz's potential return to octagon action. Having been away from the sport since January 2015, he is bound to suffer from ring rust.
The likes of BJ Penn, Alexander Gustafsson and even Diaz's former foe Carlos Condit have experienced a string of losses since coming out of retirement. Despite being clinical in their prime, these fighters ruined their legacy by competing at a stage in their career where they weren't in the mix as frequently as they would've been in their prime.
Nick Diaz will inevitably suffer from the same problems, and like Penn and Condit might not be able to overcome them. In fact, even before the Silva fight, Diaz competed only in 2013 and was dragged out of retirement to face 'The Spider'. Ring rust may play a huge role in spoiling a potential UFC return for Nick Diaz.
Either way, Nick Diaz is one of the most entertaining fighters to have ever set foot inside the octagon. While a lot of factors may be against him, we will still tune in with fervor every time he steps inside the cage.