Nick Diaz is targeting a championship opportunity in his potential return to the Octagon this year.
Hoping to schedule a fight by the end of 2022, Diaz told TMZ Sports he is training for that to happen.
“I’m working on the end of the year,” said Diaz. “I’m working on it. I’m just focused on my training right now.”
Should he get a fight scheduled, Diaz has no interest in sharing the Octagon with a contender in the welterweight division. He has set his sights on reigning UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, who he previously requested prior to his return against Robbie Lawler at UFC 266 this past September. Despite suffering a third-round technical knockout loss to Lawler, Diaz still sees himself as a big fight for Usman.
“I’d rather fight for the title,” said Diaz. “If I’m going to fight, I want to fight for the title. That’s the thing and they want to say if I want to fight a bunch of guys and stuff like that. And I’m like, ‘Well, you know what? It’s a bigger fight if you just skip all the mess. I don’t need to go in there and get my ass whooped by one of them young guys anyway. And it’s not that I won’t win, it’s just not motivating to fight somebody that’s, you know…I want to fight for the title. I’m 38 years old.”
Though praised by Dana White for his performance against Lawler after a nearly seven-year hiatus from the sport, the UFC president has said that Diaz should not fight anymore. The 38-year-old has not won since his unanimous decision over B.J. Penn in a ‘Fight of the Night’ awarded outing at UFC 137 over a decade ago. Regardless of that fact, Diaz is not considering hanging up his gloves yet and remains confident in his chances against Usman.
When asked how he sees a fight with Usman going, the fan favorite fighter saw a clear outcome.
“I think I’ll beat him. I think I can beat you. I would love it if they gave me a shot. I think I can beat you.”
Usman previously expressed interest in Diaz, who he said would be a ‘fun fight.’ However, it is unlikely that it will happen soon. Upon his return from injury, the ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ is expected to rematch Leon Edwards for the next defense of the welterweight championship.
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