Top 5 Options To Bring About A UFC Return For Nick Diaz

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Which 5 potential opponents would entice Nick Diaz to return to the UFC?

Nick Diaz
Kelvin Kuo USA TODAY Sports

With the upcoming UFC Fight Night 29 card in Brazil being headlined by a key welterweight matchup between submission aces Demian Maia and Jake Shields, and a number of other prominent 170-pound battles taking place before the end of the year, it got me thinking about forgotten top-10 contender Nick Diaz. While he’s not officially retired, UFC President Dana White has said the combustible Diaz hasn’t expressed an interest in fighting; yet despite his inactivity, he still sits at no. 7 in the rankings.

While the organization is likely just fine with not having to deal with the headaches that the veteran brings to the table such as failed drug tests and blowing off press conferences, the one thing Diaz is very good at is fighting.

The former welterweight contender was last seen in the Octagon losing a lopsided five-round decision to 170-pound kingpin Georges St.Pierre at UFC 158. For Diaz, it was his second straight loss after dropping a close decision in an interim title fight against Carlos Condit at UFC 143. After both fights, Diaz teased retirement and has been on a sabbatical since his post-fight ramblings after the GSP fight

White says Diaz was handsomely paid for the St.Pierre bout, and it is the prime reason why the veteran has been dragging his heels on a possible return. Since his last appearance in the Octagon, Diaz has gotten into the promotional side of the sport with the launch of WAR MMA.

Diaz’s non-stop aggressive style is usually fun to watch, and he’s been involved in some great fights during his career. The big question now is what will be the lure, if there is one, to bring him back to the Octagon? And does he still have the drive and dedication to be a UFC fighter?

So with this question as the premise, we will take a look at what I believe are the top-five potential matchups that could rekindle Diaz's interest in fighting again for the UFC.

Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports

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5. Nick Diaz vs. Demian Maia

Nick Diaz
Eric Bolte USA TODAY Sports

Maia has a strong challenge ahead of him in the former title challenger Shields, but if the Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist continues his current win streak, he’s in line for big things. Maia has had a career resurgence since moving down in weight and would be a tremendous matchup for Diaz with his submission skills. Diaz has eight submission victories of his own and has never been submitted. Maia doesn’t possess much in the way of a striking game, but it would be a serious test for both. It would show us whether Maia is indeed ready for a welterweight title shot in 2014, or if Diaz, despite his recent inactivity, remains amongst the division’s elite fighters.

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4. Nick Diaz vs. Michael Bisping

Nick Diaz
Eric Bolte USA TODAY Sports

This one has a couple of strings attached to it. It would be dependent on Diaz being serious about a move up in weight. Diaz was said to be interested in a move to 185 pounds, which is why the talk of a Lyoto Machida fight originally surfaced in August. Bisping’s health is the other caveat. “The Count” is out at least 4-6 months recovering from an eye injury. The timeline would give Diaz ample time to prepare for a major fight at 185 pounds, and hopefully Bisping will be able to make a full recovery. The matchup would likely see each competitor looking to showcase who has the better boxing skills, and would no doubt produce the best back-and-forth trash-talking that you could possibly have.

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3. Nick Diaz vs. Martin Kampmann

Nick Diaz
Eric Bolte USA TODAY Sports

Kampmann was most recently stopped in a thrilling fight against Carlos Condit at UFC Fight Night 27. He is remarkably tough and has been in a number of memorable Octagon wars. A bounce-back test for the Danish fighter against a returning Diaz would have the makings of an epic, bloody affair.

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2. Nick Diaz vs. Robbie Lawler/Rory MacDonald winner

Nick Diaz
Kelvin Kuo USA TODAY Sports

Diaz would no doubt relish the chance of facing a training partner of St.Pierre if MacDonald were victorious at UFC 167 against the veteran Lawler. Diaz would be motivated to send the young star tumbling down the welterweight ladder. If Lawler continued his path of destruction in his second go-round with the organization against MacDonald, a Diaz fight would have definite revenge overtones to it. Diaz is the only man ever to stop Lawler via strikes.

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1. Nick Diaz vs. Carlos Condit/Matt Brown winner

Nick Diaz
Mark J. Rebilas USA TODAY Sports

Diaz against either of these fighters is simply mouthwatering to most fight fans. Condit defeated Diaz by decision in their first encounter. Diaz was infuriated by Condit’s safer-than-expected approach in that bout. “The Natural Born Killer” is tough as nails and has one of the best finishing percentages in the sport. A rematch in my opinion would produce more fireworks than their first fight. If Brown were to defeat Condit at UFC on Fox 9 in December, it would be his seventh straight win. Brown is a straight-ahead, aggressive fighter with tremendous finishing ability as well. A clash against Diaz would be an absolute thriller.