After four years on the shelf, Nick Diaz will make his UFC return. Reporting from ESPN’s Brett Okamoto says that Diaz will return at UFC 235 on March 2 to take on Jorge Masvidal. The bout will be contested at welterweight.
Diaz’s layoff came after two big paydays for losing efforts against Georges St-Pierre in March of 2013 and then Anderson Silva in January of 2015. The Silva decision loss was overturned to a no-contest after both fighters failed fight day drug tests.
Diaz’s UFC tenure goes all the way back to UFC 44 in 2003 when he defeated Jeremy Jackson by submission. Diaz had a classic with Robbie Lawler at UFC 47 the next year.
Diaz had a five-year gap in between UFC runs, but it was a successful time away from the promotion for Diaz. He had another classic bout with Takanori Gomi at Pride 33 and went on to capture the Strikeforce welterweight championship, defending it three times. He returned to UFC in Oct. 2011 for a decision win over BJ Benn and then dropped a close decision with Carlos Condit before the GSP and Silva fights.
Masvidal is a gritty welterweight coming off a pair of losses to his own. He has not fought since a Nov. 2017 loss to Stephen Thompson. Masvidal owns wins over the likes of Donald Cerrone, Jake Ellenberger, and Ross Pearson.
UFC 235 is set to take place on pay-per-view from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Daniel Cormier has indicated that he was targetting that date for a potential fight with Brock Lesnar. Since then, news has broken that Lesnar is committed with WWE until Wrestlemania in April so a March UFC fight for Lesnar seems unlikely.
No other fights for UFC 235 have been officially announced.