MMA Ratings Podcast

September 8, 2020

The Stockon Bad Boy Returns: Who Should Nick Diaz Face In His UFC Comeback?

By Adam Martin

When the news broke earlier this week that former UFC welterweight Nick Diaz is planning an Octagon comeback in 2021, fight fans and media immediately began to wonder who "The Stockton Bad Boy" should fight in his return to MMA. Diaz hasn't fought since a 2015 No Contest against Anderson Silva at UFC 183, and he hasn't won a fight since a unanimous decision win over BJ Penn at UFC 137, back in in 2011. Yet Diaz remains a huge name in the sport, and his return will be a massive event. So let's take a look at five possible opponents for Diaz's UFC comeback:

Robbie Lawler

My ideal return fight for Diaz is a rematch against Lawler. These two met way back at UFC 47 in 2004, with Diaz winning the fight via first-round KO. 16 years later, a rematch seems very realistic. Diaz hasn't fought in forever, and Lawler has even been the UFC Welterweight Champion since Diaz's last fight, but Lawler has really struggled in recent years with a four-fight losing skid. Lawler is at the point in his career where winning the title is no longer realistic, but there are still some fun fights for him. A rematch with Diaz certainly qualifies as one, and if I were the UFC, this would be the fight I would book.

Carlos Condit

Another intriguing rematch would pit Diaz against Condit. These two met back at UFC 143 in 2012, with Condit winning a controversial unanimous decision and the UFC Interim Welterweight Championship. The fight was extremely competitive, and many fans to this day still believe that Diaz should have won the decision. In the years since their first encounter, Condit has remained active, but he is currently riding a five-fight losing skid and appears to be nearing the end of his career. I feel like both fighters' careers would be incomplete without them squaring off once again so we can find out who the better man truly is.

Donald Cerrone

Another possible bout would pit Diaz against Cerrone in a legacy fight between two longtime veterans. These are two fan favorites who are in the latter stages of their careers, and it would be a fun fight to watch. Cerrone has struggled as of late with four straight losses, but he remains a popular fighter, and earlier this year at UFC 246, he headlined a big PPV an a bout against Conor McGregor. Stylistically both Cerrone and Diaz have excellent striking and submission skills, so a matchup between these two has the potential to be a lot of fun.

Jorge Masvidal

Although Masvidal is one of the top five fighters in the UFC welterweight division right now, a fight against Diaz is certainly possible. Masvidal beat Nick's brother Nate Diaz last year for the BMF title and is set to rematch Nate in 2021. Nick is arguably the original BMF in mixed martial arts, so if Masvidal wanted to solidify that he's the BMF right now, a fight against Nick could do just that. For fans, this sounds like a very fun fight to watch, and although Masvidal is one of the highest-ranked contenders at welterweight right now, he would likely take this fight due to the big-money potential.

Conor McGregor

One option that can't be discounted is a matchup between Diaz and McGregor. Yes, McGregor is technically retired, but Diaz could be the type of big-name opponent and money fight that could coax the Irishman out of retirement. McGregor has fought Nick's brother Nate twice in two memorable bouts, so a fight against Nick would have plenty of built-in heat already. Not to mention that McGregor has mentioned in the past that he would be open to this fight. This would be an exciting fight for the fans and a huge money fight for the UFC that could easily headline a pay-per-view card in 2021.

Although Nick Diaz has not had much success in the Octagon over the last decade, he is still a massive name and likely still a big draw. Regardless of who the UFC matches Diaz up against, it's likely going to be the headliner of pay-per-view. Love him or hate him, having Diaz back in the UFC is great for the sport.

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