Nick Diaz eyes 2020 return to UFC, against Jorge Masvidal

Nick Diaz ready to return to the Octagon (3:19)

Nick Diaz sits down with Ariel Helwani to discuss his brother Nate's loss to Jorge Masvidal and his potential return to the UFC. (3:19)

Nick Diaz's long-awaited return to fighting could come in early 2020.

Diaz and his manager told ESPN he is finally open to returning to the UFC Octagon. And he has set his sights on Jorge Masvidal, the man who just beat Diaz's younger brother, Nate.

Masvidal is coming off a third-round TKO of Nate Diaz, who suffered two deep cuts around his right eye that prompted a controversial doctor stoppage at UFC 244 on Nov. 2 in Madison Square Garden.

"I'll fight anybody," Nick Diaz said during an interview, which aired Monday on Ariel Helwani's MMA Show. "This guy [Masvidal] can do anything he wants to do right now to make the most money possible.

"I'm like, you know, do the damn thing. ... I'm doing my part, you do yours. They can do their part and then the show could go on."

According to Diaz's manager, Kevin Mubenga, they are targeting a return to fighting in the spring. Mubenga said a Masvidal fight at the Dallas Cowboys' home, AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, is their ideal choice.

"You know, it's on you Dana," Diaz said, referring to UFC president Dana White. "It's on you, UFC. ... that's on them. It's in your hands now. Cowboy Stadium."

Diaz hasn't fought since Jan. 31, 2015, when he lost a decision to Anderson Silva. That was changed to a no-contest after Silva tested positive for banned substances. Diaz also failed a drug test for marijuana metabolites. It was the third time Diaz failed a marijuana-related drug test. He was initially suspended for five years, but that was later reduced to 18 months.

Diaz has kept a relatively low profile in the mixed martial arts community since his suspension, but he made an appearance for his brother's bout earlier this month. He accompanied Nate during the ceremonial weigh-ins and walked him to the cage on fight night.

Masvidal and Nate Diaz pushed for a rematch with their postfight remarks in the Octagon. But White said he wasn't interested in an immediate rematch and that Masvidal would have options after a huge 2019, which saw him win three big fights. One option for Masvidal would seem to be a title shot against the winner of the Dec. 14 bout between welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington. Conor McGregor also would seem to be a possible foe for Masvidal, who is looking for a huge payday after finally reaching superstardom in his 16th year as a pro.

Coincidentally, the UFC actually tried to book Masvidal vs. Nick Diaz earlier this year but talks with Diaz never seriously materialized.

In addition to not liking how the fight panned out for his brother, Diaz took umbrage with Masvidal saying he wanted to "baptize" Nate, which is a term Masvidal uses for knocking people out.

"You want to talk about baptizing my younger brother?" Nick said. "That's on you. Like, you don't talk about baptizing my younger brother, so you're already in a f---ed position if you fight with me. You don't f---ing talk about baptizing someone's younger brother. That's my baby brother. You don't talk like that to nobody."

Nate Diaz and Masvidal shared mutual respect throughout the promotion of the fight and even afterward in the ring, though Nate started to sense his call for a rematch was not going to be met, at least not right away.

Nick Diaz said he wouldn't have done this interview without Nate's blessing.

"I wouldn't be here if he didn't ask me to be here," Nick said.