Ariel Helwani claims Nick Diaz's return was in the works for "quite some time", says Georges St-Pierre rematch was among slew of bouts pitched to UFC

Ariel Helwani claims Nick Diaz
Ariel Helwani reveals Nick Diaz's comeback was expected for "quite some time" [Image courtesy: Getty Images, and @UFC - X]

Ariel Helwani recently discussed the announcement regarding Nick Diaz's octagon return for UFC Abu Dhabi and noted that there were plenty of potential opponents pitched before agreeing on Vicente Luque. The Stockton native will compete for the first time following a three-year layoff in a five round co-main event against the Brazilian.

The former Strikeforce welterweight champion last competed at UFC 266, where he lost a third-round TKO against Robbie Lawler. That bout was contested at middleweight after there was a minute change due to Diaz's inability to make 170-pounds.

During Wednesday's episode of The MMA Hour, Helwani brought up that he had spoken to a number of individuals who claim that Diaz is in a much better place mentally and physically since his last bout.

He mentioned that the return had been in the works for months and Diaz had initially proposed other matchups to the UFC brass including a rematch against Georges St-Pierre as well as other top contenders. He said:

"This [return] has been in the works for quite some time, I'm told. Nick [Diaz] was initially pushing for a 'GSP' fight, didn't come to fruition. He was then pushing for a Colby Covington fight at UFC 300...After 'MVP's win and debut at 299, pushed for that fight on the June 29th Conor McGregor card, UFC 303...Then pushed for Kevin Holland...And so, he is going to go to Abu Dhabi, he's gonna fight Vicente Luque."

Check out Ariel Helwani's comments regarding Nick Diaz's UFC return below:

When did Nick Diaz last win a UFC fight?

Nick Diaz will be looking to snap a winless skid when he makes his octagon return at UFC Abu Dhabi on Aug. 3.

The Stockton native has had lengthy layoffs in between his past three bouts, but remains an attraction as he is a beloved fighter due to his entertaining fighting style. His last win came against former two-division champion BJ Penn at UFC 137, which saw him earn an unanimous decision and a Fight of the Night bonus.

Diaz showcased his relentless pace against Penn and immediately inserted himself in the title picture, where he would later challenge then welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.

Check out UFC Brazil's tweet regarding Nick Diaz vs. BJ Penn below:

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