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Gilbert Melendez: Nick Diaz Is Forever Ready
Polarizing UFC welterweight Nick Diaz remains retired after his one-sided loss to Georges St. Pierre in the main event of March’s UFC 158. While many believed that Diaz would simply return to the Octagon after the bad taste of two consecutive title losses wore off, his return appears uncertain at best right now.
However, his good friend and training partner Gilbert Melendez, who faces Diego Sanchez at this weekend’s UFC 166 in Houston, seems to think there are certain fights that could prompt the elder Diaz to make a triumphant return to fighting.
But it won’t be an easy sell getting him back in the ring. Even though Diaz fell short against both GSP and Carlos Condit, he’d still need a top-level opponent to sign a fight contract:
“I think with the right opportunity, for the right thing, he’ll come out,” Melendez said. “Whether it’s boxing, whether it’s kickboxing, whether it’s whatever, some sort of challenge would be great. I don’t think he has the desire to be a steppingstone or he doesn’t want to play that role. Sometimes you have to come back up the ladder in your career and I don’t think he wants that. I think he wants to fight top-level competition. He doesn’t need to fight just to take it. Nick is forever ready. He’s always in shape, he’s always sparring, he’s always grappling. He does triathlons, he’s in better shape than most guys who are relevant now in the game.” – via MMA Fighting
Indeed Diaz has accomplished enough to not begin the long track back towards a title shot, but that puts him in kind of an odd position in the talent-rich 170-pound arena. With many of the top contenders slated for big fights in the coming months, a big name bout could definitely materialize in early 2014.
Melendez seems to think that Diaz may venture out into other forms of combat sports, and his boxing is still regarded as some of the best in all of mixed martial arts. And it appears that another sharp boxer told Ariel Helwani that he is willing to welcome Diaz to middleweight after he heals up from his detached retina:
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) October 14, 2013
Could be interesting. In the meantime, Diaz’ fans will wait with baited breath for the Stockton native to declare his intentions to scrap once again. Will the UFC’s best heel ever make his return, and if so, when?
Outer Photo: Kelvin Kuo for USA TODAY Sports