Nick Diaz is free to fight again. One of the biggest personalities in a sport full of iconoclasts, Diaz had his 18-month suspension for marijuana metabolites lifted.
Diaz (26-9-2) is one of the most outspoken fighters in all of MMA and is known for his ferocious trash talk. He has not fought since January of 2015, when he faced Anderson Silva at UFC 183 in a bout that ultimately was ruled a no contest after both fighters were flagged for doping violations and later suspended.
The Nevada Athletic Commission originally suspended Diaz for five years and fined him $165,000, but Diaz successfully appealed and the suspension was reduced to 18 months.
If new UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley has his way, Diaz will not have to wait long for a big opportunity. Woodley, who knocked out Robbie Lawler this pastSaturday at UFC 201 to win the title, has said he wants to fight Diaz--and soon--at UFC 202, which happens August 20 in Las Vegas. The other Diaz brother, Nate, already is scheduled to throw down that night as he rematches against Conor McGregor in a non-title main event.
Michael Bisping, the current UFC middleweight champ, also has expressed interest in facing Diaz. Rematches with Silva or Georges St. Pierre also would likely do big money for the UFC.
When Diaz does return to the cage he will be looking to end a lengthy win drought. The Stockton, Calif., product has not had his hand raised since a decision win over B.J. Penn on Oct. 29, 2011 against UFC 137. Diaz has gone 0-2-1 since.
By John Moorehouse