Gearing up to scrap with former middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva (33-6) after a 16 month reprieve from MMA won’t be the easiest thing for Nick Diaz (26-9, 1NC) to do. Though the Stockton native chose to shrug off other challenges that had been offered to him, the opportunity to fight Silva wasn’t one to pass up. In his own words, he didn’t just want any fight, he wanted the right fight.
Diaz and Silva will be the main event of UFC 183 on Jan. 31 in Las Vegas. The bout will be contested at middleweight. On a conference call Wednesday, Diaz explained what he had been doing in his time off from competition and why it took him so long to come out of his self-imposed retirement.
“It was more about my options of whether I’m getting back in there fighting or not,” Diaz said. “They were offering me fights and I wasn’t really interested in the fights that they were talking about for pretty much the whole year…So, I pretty much just dealt with different aspects of life and it’s been what it is,” Diaz said.
“We’ve been able to sit down and talk about it a little bit. I think that was looking for pretty much the biggest fight that I could get myself into, just like always. That’s what I’ve always done since I was 18 years old and I made it to the UFC. Things just didn’t work out the way that they were planned initially. So now, here we are.”
On ESPN SportsCenter’s Tuesday edition, UFC president announced the return of both Silva and Diaz in a mega fight that has fans salivating. White also indicated that Diaz could place himself back in title contention with a win. Obviously, the idea of battling for a championship intrigued him.
“A title fight is one of the biggest fights that I can do because once you have the title, then you’re important and I consider myself important in this sport, otherwise I wouldn’t be on this call,” Diaz stated. “That’s a big fight that’s going to sell tickets. That’s where everybody’s going to benefit that I can do the most for, my family and the people that I care about. And I’d also be motivated to survive training camp and the fight – for the right reasons.”
Though Diaz is pleased with his current UFC contract, he still maintains that not all fighters are paid what they should be. In his opinion, other fighters can’t be as vocal as he’s been, especially ones who don’t have much tenure with the organization. However, his absence from the promotion wasn’t just a hold out for a more lucrative deal.
Mentally and physically, Diaz needed the break. Furthermore, Diaz added he wouldn’t recommend fighting as a career to anyone. The 13-year MMA veteran stated that the perpetual grind of training and competing was beginning to take a toll on him. Having a break allowed him to ponder his options, regroup and find his focus.
“Fighting is not something I enjoy doing. Fighting is something I feel I have to do and that’s just the way it is. There’s a lot to it when it comes to martial arts.”
“I think that people lie to you and tell you that they enjoy doing things they don’t like to do,” Diaz later added. “A lot of it’s a front and they like to put on a good look in front of their family, and think they have a positive effect on people around them, and not be put in bad positions. So, they keep their mouth shut and put on a smile, or they say bulls*** like they like to hurt people. I don’t want to hurt anybody. I’m a non-violent person. I don’t especially enjoy violence. I don’t even like that show Ridiculous. The host is a really funny guy, I love that guy. But I hate watching people get hurt over and over again. It’s not something I enjoy doing.”
But after his time spent away from the sport, Diaz doesn’t think he’s lost his edge. The polarizing athlete will branch out somewhat to prepare for Silva. Still, the bulk of Diaz’s camp will be based in Northern California.
According to the 30-year old he’s not certain what Anderson Silva he’ll get in the cage. Silva, 39, broke his leg in a title rematch against Chris Weidman. Diaz explained his only goal is to perform at his best.
Listen to the full conference call here: