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01st Feb 2017

Dana White has offered Nick Diaz another huge return bout following initial rejection

A certain contender is going to be royally pissed off

Ben Kiely

Nick Diaz is just one win away from fighting for the UFC welterweight title, despite his last victory coming over five years ago.

The former Strikeforce champion’s 18-month suspension after testing positive for marijuana has ended and he is clear to make his highly-anticipated return to the Octagon.

Diaz has been ready to come back for quite some time now, but the lack of any fight announcement has left fans asking, ‘Where you at Nick?’

The fans want him back, the promotion wants him back, hell, even the current champion wants to give Diaz a title shot straight from the get-go. While Diaz may still be the biggest draw in the division, the UFC didn’t want to fast-track the fan-favourite after such a long lay-off.

Dana White confirmed on a recent episode of the UFC Unfiltered podcast, that his initial plan for Diaz’s return, a rematch against former 170 lb king Robbie Lawler was turned down.

“I offered Nick Diaz the Lawler fight and he turned it down. Lawler accepted the fight and Nick turned it down so I’m looking for something else for Lawler right now.”

“(Diaz’s team) were terrorizing me saying ‘we want a fight’ so they wanted to announce it that night at the Sacramento card. Cause he was there, it’s the right crowd, it’s close to his hometown and they wanted to announce it. I got Robbie Lawler to accept the fight, I called him, and they turned it down and they’ve been radio silent on me ever since.”

Diaz and Lawler first slugged it out at UFC 47 in 2004. On that occasion, Diaz got the win via brutal second-round knockout.

That’s not the only bout White has up his sleeve. After the initial rejection, the UFC president offered Diaz a number one contender bout against streaking welterweight Demian Maia. The jiu-jitsu master has breezed past the last six opponents he’s faced inside the Octagon, a win-streak which culminated in a stunning first round submission of Carlos Condit last August.

If Diaz has no interest in that one either, he has a back-up plan for Maia that the top welterweight probably won’t be too happy with.

“I just reached out to (Diaz’s team) and said what do you guys think about a fight with Demian Maia? I haven’t heard back from them yet. If Nick doesn’t take it, I’ll give it to (Jorge) Masvidal.”

Maia has stubbornly been waiting in the wings for his title shot, opting to stay inactive until he’s given his crack at the belt. Masvidal, on the other hand, is just after coming off a sensational double-knockout victory over Donald Cerrone, and he’s more than willing to duke it out with the Brazilian.

After dismantling Cowboy in the lion’s den, Masvidal wagered Dana White $200,000 that he couldn’t find an opponent that could beat him. He’s sticking to his guns with that bet.