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Nick Diaz is back, and he is asking for Anderson Silva

ESPN staff
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Nick Diaz wants Anderson Silva © Getty Images
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Former Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz has ended his brief retirement and will seek a bout against middleweight title holder Anderson Silva.

Diaz's trainer/manager Cesar Gracie revealed the information on Friday on graciefighter.com.

"To see Nick leave at the top of his game was difficult," Gracie said. "For the last couple of months I've watched Nick begin to frequent the gym more and more. He's training harder now than he has for many of his fights.

"It was obvious that training and fighting is in his DNA. It is who he is. This week we had a great talk, and he made it clear to me that he is ready to get back in the cage. Nick Diaz will return."

Gracie did not provide a specific date for Diaz's return, but acknowledged the fighter hopes to be back in action by the end of this year.

Before Diaz can resume his mixed martial arts career, he must seek reinstatement of his fighting licence from the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC). Diaz was suspended for one year by the NSAC in May after testing positive for marijuana metabolites following his UFC interim welterweight title fight against Carlos Condit.

Diaz announced his retirement from mixed martial arts shortly after his suspension. It was Diaz's second marijuana-related offence. In 2007, the NSAC suspended Diaz for six months after he tested positive for THC, an active ingredient in the drug, following a victory over Takanori Gomi. The result of that fight was later changed to a no-contest.

Diaz's current suspension is dated retroactively to February 4. The fighter and his handlers have already begun the appeals process.

"We have appealed to the courts, and if things go our way, it will be plausible that Nick could return as early as sometime at the end of this year," Gracie said. "For too long NSAC bureaucrats have acted with malicious incompetence toward the fighters. We will challenge them in court."

Should the courts overturn Diaz's suspension and he is allowed to resume fighting immediately, his team plans to petition the UFC for a title fight with Silva. In the meantime, Gracie said he has a meeting "to discuss this and other issues" with UFC president Dana White scheduled for August 6.

"As far as future opponents, Nick has stated that he would like to take fights 'that matter,'" Gracie said. "Since [welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre] will be fighting [interim title holder] Carlos Condit, he has to look elsewhere.

"He will respectfully ask for a fight with Anderson Silva, a fighter he respects and would like to challenge. Silva's camp has been speaking of a fight with [St-Pierre], possibly even a catchweight. Nick will take that fight in a minute but has told me that should Silva decide not to drop at all, he will move up to 185lbs to face the champ."

This article first appeared on ESPN.com

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