Former UFC title contender Nick Diaz will never again compete in the octagon, according to longtime training partner Gilbert Melendez, who insists that the popular welterweight’s fighting career has come to a close.
Former Strikeforce champion Diaz, older brother of two-time Conor McGregor opponent Nate, has been inactive since a January 2015 no-contest against Anderson Silva, after which he was handed a suspension for failing a post-fight drug test for marijuana.
Rumors of a comeback emerged late last year, as UFC fighter Jorge Masvidal was openly campaigning for a bout with the elder Diaz at next month’s UFC 235 but, after a deal initially looked close to being agreed, Diaz’s perceived reluctance forced Masvidal into alternative arrangements.
Masvidal will now face Darren Till in the main event of next month’s UFC card in London.
But any hopes of another Nick Diaz fight in the UFC appear to have been dashed by Melendez’s comments, made on Chael Sonnen’s ‘You’re Welcome‘ podcast.
“I would love to see him come back, but last time I checked, he’s retired,” he said of Nick Diaz. “I don’t think there’s anything holding him back, except just his decision whether he wants to come back or not.”
“He’s in shape. He’s in dang shape. I think he’s always running and staying ready. He’s a ninja. He’s always ready.”
However, Melendez didn’t rule out Diaz having a change of heart. A keen triathlete, Diaz is known to be one of the fittest athletes on the UFC roster and isn’t likely to allow his fitness to slip as he steps away from mixed martial arts.
“If anyone could come back and do it, and stay on track and everything, it’s him,” Melendez said.
Diaz’s younger brother Nate, meanwhile, has a similarly unclear future in the UFC and Melendez says that he is currently enjoying the high-life – literally.
“He’s training hard,” Melendez said. “His brand is huge. He’s so dang famous; the guy’s an A-lister now. Everyone knows him where I go.
“He’s big in the cannabis game out there and hanging out with celebrities, doing appearances. Being a real businessman out there. He has his specialties, and he’s doing good. He’s training all the time, living a good lifestyle.“