Commentary

Let's keep Nick Diaz out of title talk

Originally Published: March 17, 2014
By Brett Okamoto | ESPN.com

Nick Diaz had himself a time in Dallas.

The twice-retired Diaz (26-9) didn't miss out on a UFC 171 card that was built to showcase the talent of the welterweight division. And somehow, he got our attention despite never setting foot in the cage.

Video of him went viral in the mixed martial arts world on Friday, when he was shown taunting Johny Hendricks for missing weight. The next day, he sat cageside for the pay-per-view event, next to female bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.

The typically media-shy Diaz also granted interviews with anyone who asked, and announced that after a year away from professional fighting, he is ready to return to the Octagon -- for a shot at the title.

That's awesome. Welcome back, Nick. But about that last part ...

Are we really talking about Nick Diaz fighting for the title in his first fight back? Tell me we're not. You guys, seriously. We're not, right?

Diaz is on a two-fight losing streak. He hasn't won a bout since October 2011 against BJ Penn. BJ Penn. A man who is currently training for a fight at 145 pounds.

But even more than that, you know why Diaz doesn't deserve a title shot? Because he didn't fight at UFC 171 -- despite getting an invitation. The UFC offered him a chance to avenge a 2012 loss to Carlos Condit in the co-main event, and he passed.

Diaz decided that fight wasn't worth his time. A welterweight by the name of Tyron Woodley, with about 15 text messages to UFC president Dana White, made it be known he thought it was worth his.

While Diaz sat cageside, Woodley (13-2) rolled through the highly ranked Condit -- whom we're still not sure Diaz could beat since Diaz opted not to fight him.

If Diaz were to get a title shot ahead of Woodley, I mean, what are we all doing here? What are we watching at that point? Fun, marketable fights are one thing. Giving a title shot to a man with more retirements than wins in the past two years is another.

Don't get me wrong: I am more than happy to welcome Diaz back to the UFC. A fight between him and Robbie Lawler is a home run. You could argue Diaz doesn't even deserve that, as Lawler was just five minutes away from holding the belt, but I won't.

Today, my vote is Woodley as the welterweight No. 1 contender. If Hendricks needs time to heal and the UFC wants to set up something official, have Woodley fight Hector Lombard or Rory MacDonald. But for now, Diaz shouldn't be in the conversation.

With that, here are the grades from UFC 171 and Bellator 112.

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