Nick Diaz returns, Sandhagen vs. Nurmagomedov at UFC Abu Dhabi

Nick Diaz, one of the most popular fighters in mixed martial arts history, will return to the UFC in August.

Diaz (26-10) will face Vicente Luque (22-10-1) in a five-round welterweight fight at UFC Fight Night on Aug. 3 in Abu Dhabi. UFC CEO Dana White announced the fight on Wednesday.

The news came out of nowhere, as Diaz, the older brother of UFC star Nate Diaz, has not fought since September 2021. The 40-year-old legend struggled in a TKO loss to Robbie Lawler, and admitted during fight week he was not excited to return to competition. Prior to that fight, Diaz hadn’t fought in six years.

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He’ll face an established adversary in Luque, 32, who has been a consistent force at welterweight despite losing three of his past four.

In a bantamweight matchup, Cory Sandhagen (17-4) will meet Umar Nurmagomedov (17-0), cousin of Khabib Nurmagomedov, in the main event.

There will be other exciting fights on the rest of the main card.

Former bantamweight title challenger Marlon “Chito” Vera will be taking on former flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo, who is undefeated since moving up to 135 pounds.

There will also be an intriguing strawweight matchup between Mackenzie Dern and Loopy Godinez. The card will be opened by a welterweight matchup between Michael Chiesa and Tony Ferguson. White noted that this could be the final fight of Ferguson’s legendary career.

The main event will define the next contender for Sean O’Malley’s bantamweight championship. O’Malley is expected to defend his title versus Merab Dvalishvili later this year.

Sandhagen is riding a three-fight win streak into the matchup versus Nurmagomedov, who is the cousin of legendary lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov and has an undefeated record of 17-0.

The August 3 card will be the UFC’s 19th visit to Abu Dhabi and its first since UFC 294 this past October.

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