Nick Diaz comes out of retirement, signs three-fight deal with UFC

Nick Diaz is back.

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

It’s time to move some needles.

Nick Diaz has come out of retirement to sign a three-fight contract with the UFC, the organization announced Thursday. Diaz is set to return to the Octagon in early 2015, but told that he could come back even sooner.

"Next year I guess. Whatever, though," Diaz said Thursday at UFC headquarters in Las Vegas. "I can fight tomorrow. Tonight."

Diaz, 30, hasn’t stepped into the Octagon since falling to Georges St-Pierre in a welterweight title fight in March 2013. Previously, the Stockton, Calif., native said he wanted to fight again, but would not return to the UFC until he was paid $500,000 per fight. The terms of this new deal were not disclosed by the UFC.

"I’ve been doing a whole lot of not-getting-punched-around-type stuff," Diaz said. "I’ve been staying in shape pretty good, doing a lot of running. It’s been a good experience having this much time off."

There was a lot of talk about a potential bout with former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, but UFC president Dana White tweeted Thursday that Silva is out until February, still recovering from his broken leg. Diaz presumably would fight sooner than that.

"I’d like to fight for the title," Diaz said. "I think that would be a big deal and worth fighting for. I want fights that will lead to a title fight. Whoever is in line and whoever has the title, that’s who I’m going to be fighting. I’d be interested in fighting [Anderson Silva] and anything that’s going to do well. As far as Anderson Silva, I think that would be a great fight for people to see because he has my type of style."

Diaz might not have fought in more than a year, but he never left the consciousness of fans and media. White routinely was asked about Diaz’s potential return in the past few months, and there’s little doubt that Diaz is one of the most popular fighters in the UFC.

White acknowledged as much last week when he said Diaz’s brother, Nate, doesn’t "move the needle" like Nick does. Nate also is in a dispute with the UFC and won’t fight until his contract is restructured. Maybe Nick signing a new deal paves the way for that to happen.