UFC legend Nick Diaz targeting September return after Dana White talks but open to boxing match
UFC star Nick Diaz is hoping to make his long-awaited return to the octagon in September – but he's also willing to step into the boxing ring.
The former Strikeforce welterweight champion has been gearing up for a sensational return to the cage for well over a year.
Fan favourite Diaz has got himself in tremendous shape ahead of a possible return, which his coach Cesar Gracie is hoping will take place in the autumn.
When asked about a timetable for Diaz's return, Gracie told MMA Fighting: “We were looking at September.
“I have to see where he is in his contract. It is possible that his next fight will not be in the UFC.”
Should a return to the UFC not materialise, Diaz is open to dipping his toes back into the boxing world.
Gracie added: “Nick is very open to take a fight in MMA or boxing.”
Diaz, 37, held comeback talks with UFC president Dana White in Jacksonville, Florida in April.
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White was initially sceptical about the Californian's plans to fight again but has since performed a U-turn.
In an interview with UFC Arabia, the veteran promoter said of Diaz's long-awaited comeback: “I wasn’t very high on that.
“I didn’t think that it would happen but it looks like it will. It looks like Nick Diaz will fight this year.”
He added: “The last time that I saw him in Jacksonville but it looks like it’s going to happen.
“We’ll see. The matchmakers have [talked to him] but I don’t know where we’re at on it but it’s looking promising.
“You never hear me say that ever. ‘You think Nick Diaz will fight this year?’
"Absolutely, positively not is what I usually say. Looking promising [he’ll fight this year].”
Diaz- the elder brother of UFC superstar Nate – hasn't set foot inside the octagon since his 2015 showdown with future Hall-of-Famer Anderson Silva.
The Stockton slugger lost the fight via unanimous decision, although the result was overturned to a no-contest after Silva tested positive for metabolites of an anabolic steroid and synthetic testosterone.
Diaz also failed his post-fight drug screening, testing positive for marijuana metabolites for the third time.
The Nevada Athletic Commission handed him a five-year suspension, although that was reduced to 18 months following a successful appeal.
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