According to an ESPN report, UFC president Dana White has confirmed that welterweight fighter Nick Diaz will make his return to the Octagon on March 2 when he fights Jorge Masvidal at UFC 235 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Diaz has not fought since taking a loss by decision to Anderson Silva in January 2015, a result that was later changed to a no contest after both fighters failed drug tests.
Suspensions, Legal Troubles Keep Diaz Out of Action
Following that fight, Diaz (26-9) was suspended by 18 months by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. He then picked up another suspension from the United States Anti-Doping Agency last year after missing three out-of-competition drug tests. But he has been eligible to return to competition since April, putting him back on the radar for UFC fans.
Many felt the chances of Diaz returning to the company were all but over earlier this year, when he faced felony charges stemming from an alleged domestic violence incident in May. However, Clark County prosecutors dropped all charges against Diaz hours before a preliminary hearing in early September.
The 35-year-old Diaz the older brother of UFC lightweight Nate Diaz was once a champion in the Strikeforce promotion. His latest stint with the UFC began in 2011, when he won a unanimous decision over B.J. Penn at UFC 137. However, he has not won since then, dropping decisions to Carlos Condit and Georges St. Pierre before the no contest with Silva.
Masvidal Excited to Face Diaz
Masvidal (32-13), will also be coming off a long layoff, having last fought in November 2017 when he lost by decision to Stephen Thompson. Masvidal has fought 15 times since joining UFC in 2013, winning nine of those fights. He is currently riding a two-fight losing streak, having last won against Donald Cerrone in January 2017 via second-round TKO.
But the 34-year-old has been dealing with lingering injuries that have kept him out of the Octagon since the fight with Thompson. That led Masvidal to jump at the opportunity to get back into action by fighting Diaz.
The UFC offered us Nick Diaz and obviously we said yes, Masvidal told ESPN earlier this week. I would have loved to fight Nate, too just because those guys are studs, man. All will. They dont have the most skills in the division, but they have maybe the most will.
Currently, Masvidal is the No. 9-ranked contender in the UFC welterweight division. That ranking and the fact that he has been a much more active fighter than Diaz seems to be enough for bookmakers to think Masvidal should be favored in the fight, though they expect a competitive contest. According to BetOnline, Masvidal is a -155 favorite, while Diaz is listed at +135.
No other fights have been announced for UFC 235 at this time. The next pay-per-view for the company is UFC 231, which is taking place on Dec. 8 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.