Nate Diaz Returns to the Octagon December 19

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When Stockton California native Nate Diaz makes the walk to the cage December 19 at UFC on FOX 17 he will have been out of action for a full year, returning from a yearlong layoff for the second consecutive bout. Despite being thoroughly handled by now-champion Rafael Dos Anjos and fighting for only the third time in over two years, there will be no tune up fights for the popular lightweight.

Diaz will offer the chance for highly ranked contender Michael “The Menace” Johnson to reignite his title hopes after falling to Beniel Dariush in one of the years most disputed decision, with nearly all major media outlets scoring the bout 29-28 in favour of Johnson.

Diaz has been vocally against the UFC’s business practices in recent years, at times appearing wholly disinterested in fighting for the organisation, from refusing to do interviews and failing to make-weight to specifically requesting a release from his contract, the bout will be telling of his commitment to remaining relevant in the sport.

Inactivity has led to a slip all the way down to the #14 position in the official UFC rankings for Diaz, and a loss in the bout could see an end to his time as a ranked contender in the sports most talent rich weight class.

Diaz last made headlines in the MMA media for engaging in a brawl with Khabib Nurmagomedov at a recent World Series of Fighting event, leading many to call for a bout between the two, however this was not to be, with Nurmagomedov taking on Tony Ferguson just a week earlier. The timing of the two bouts suggests that should the two emerge victorious a grudge match could be in the works for an early 2016 title eliminator.

The bout makes December a major month for lightweight division, in addition to the aforementioned Diaz vs Johnson and Nurmagomedov vs Ferguson bouts, the UFC on FOX 17 headliner will see the lightweight title on the line when Rafael Dos Anjos takes on Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone”, So it appears the stage is set for some major shifts at 155 pounds to close out 2015.
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