Who should Nick Diaz face in his return from suspension, and why?
MIKE HISCOE, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Speaking of Diaz, he has options for his return as he can make and be competitive at both 170 and 185 lbs. As evidenced by his inactivity even when he is not suspended, the elder Diaz brother only wants the biggest of fights. To Diaz, that likely means rematches with either Georges St-Pierre or Anderson Silva. Neither of these fights sound appealing to me as Diaz wasn’t competitive enough with either St-Pierre nor Silva, and there are better options for both. If I had my way, Diaz would rematch with Robbie Lawler, who must relish the opportunity to avenge his April, 2004 knockout loss. I think a good balance between a reasonable fight and a marquee fight for Diaz would be the rumoured matchup with the also returning from suspension, Chael Sonnen. Sonnen’s a big enough name for Diaz and will do an excellent job talking up the fight which would be perfect as a second from the top fight on pay-per-view. It’s a winnable fight for Diaz against Sonnen, whose fighting ability has to be in question after a three year layoff and without the support of testosterone replacement therapy. A win over Sonnen would give Diaz his first in five years and lend him enough credibility for either a title fight or rematch with St-Pierre or Silva.
CHRIS HUNT, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Like GSP, Nick Diaz’s return seems imminent and he too is only interested in the big fights. The problem, is that there are not that many big fighters to match him up with. Nick Grinups wrote an excellent article on five potential fighters including GSP, Woodley, Lawler, Cerrone, or the Condit/Maia winner. Personally I like the rumour of him fighting Sonnen. It would be an interesting clash of styles. Sonnen would sell the fight brilliantly and the pre-fight build up would be mind blowingly awesome.
DYLAN WEBSTER, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I think Nick Diaz should come back and fight a top five welterweight right off the bat to make a statement and then go on to face the winner of Woodley-Thompson for the Welterweight Title if he gets past his opponent, he is a well known name, has had big fights and should be fighting top competition in his division, either Demian Maia or Rory MacDonald (if he stays in the UFC) would be two choices in the top five, although he would probably have to go through Robbie Lawler to get the next shot at the belt.
FRANK GONZALES, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
This is kind of an out-there choice, but this is Nick Diaz we’re talking about. We know he wants big fights, so as much as I want to see the Lawler rematch, I don’t think Robbie’s the right foe. The kid from the mean street of Stockton needs the bad guy from the mean streets of West Linn.
That’s right, Chael Sonnen, provided he’s “basically” clean. He’s also been gone for a while, has been throwing out challenges, and needs a dance partner. And while this has potential to be a boring fight, style-wise, the build-up and promotion would be nothing but.
ADAM TINDAL, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
In my eyes Nick won the Condit fight and arguably won the Silva fight, but then again my eyes are biased when it comes to the Diaz Bros. However, he has lost three in a row and needs a big win to remind people why he is such a polarizing athlete. Serve up Matt Brown, a scrappy striker who remains fearless no matter what the circumstances. Although after the Ellenberger fight the Immortal One’s ability to absorb strikes, especially to the body now, seemed compromised. Would he be able to hold up against the down pour of punches Nick likes to throw? I doubt it, but either way the match up of styles would make for an excellent fight.
RYAN LEGARSKY, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
While I feel that GSP should not get to rewarded with a title fight in his return fight, I believe GSP-Nick Diaz 2 could be a show stealer. This is a fight that will draw in a lot of reaction from the common and hardcore fans and make everyone involved a lot of money. The second option that I see? Chael Sonnen. The issue with that fight is what weight it would be contested at…but the pre-fight antics and hype would be second to none.
STEVEN CONSENTINO, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Let’s face it, Nick Diaz wants big fights. There are two real potential options depending on what weight class he chooses to return to, one being much more enticing to both Diaz and the UFC. With his last outing coming at middleweight in a competitive contest opposite Anderson Silva, new champ Michael Bisbing is set to take on a retiring Dan Henderson. Diaz could be matched up with unquestionable contenders Yoel Romero or Jacre Souza to be next in line for the middleweight strap, but the UFC sees a bigger opportunity to seize.
In a number one contender fight coming at welterweight, Nick Diaz agrees to fight Stephen Thompson in the UFC’S debut at Madison Square Garden in New York, with Tyron Woodley and the returning Georges St-Pierre headlining. Diaz whole-heartedly believes he contributes heavily in “moving the needle” and not only will he himself, coupled with the first card at MSG and the return of GSP, culminate in one of the most highly anticipated cards in recent memory, the thought of “Rush” reclaiming his title and Diaz coming out victorious would be nothing but dollar signs for Nick, and the UFC. Setting up another fight between the two would be gold for the UFC and fans.
[Photo (c) Jayne Kamin-Oncea via USA Today Sports]
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