Nick Diaz appears to be planning another UFC comeback in 2023 and it seems he’s not looking for a tune-up fight first as he’s hoping to fight former champion Israel Adesanya.
“You can see me back on top in 2023, I’m making a comeback,” Diaz told reporters in Las Vegas recently. “I’m going to be quicker than ever, stronger than ever, better than ever—I’m just gonna be a whole new me. Whoever is on top at the time [I want]—preferably Israel Adesanya, if he gets his title back.”
Diaz made another comeback from retirement against Robbie Lawler back in 2021 after well over six years on the sidelines and was TKO’d in the third round.
Now 39-years-old, you’d have to go back as far as 2011 to find the last time Diaz won a fight, beating BJ Penn by unanimous decision at UFC 137.
Since then he’s only made a handful of appearances, losing by decision to both Carlos Condit and Georges St-Pierre at welterweight, and then also Anderson Silva at middleweight, though that result was later amended to a no-contest due to his opponent testing for steroids.
While Diaz sounds ready to return again, it remains to be seen if Dana White will be as eager to see him back in the Octagon, as back in June when asked about a possible fight for him, the UFC President sounded less than enthusiastic.
“I put on fights with the best fighters in the world, and how old is Nick? You’re asking me silly questions,” White told reporters, while also noting that, “I need to look out for Nick and make sure Nick doesn’t get hurt.”
Around the same time, Diaz’s long-time coach Cesar Gracie had also revealed that Diaz was undergoing surgery on two discs in his neck, but that he did hope to return to fighting once he was fully recovered.