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UFC's Nick Diaz: 'I've got to keep it real'

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MMA: UFC 158-St.Pierre vs Diaz
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Nick Diaz says he won't change the way he fights. (Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports)

Nick Diaz has not fought for a year and a half in the UFC Octagon. And that has suited the elite veteran just fine.

"I've just been doing a whole lot of not getting punched around, type stuff. Hanging around," he said to UFC.com in a recently released interview.

Diaz has made up with the UFC and come to terms to return to competition. Considering that he's fought professionally since he was just a teenager and been in many wars, the Stockton native said he's enjoyed his time off since losing a decision to Georges St. Pierre in March of 2013.

"I've been staying in shape pretty good. Been doing a lot of running. It's been a good experience having that much time off," he admitted.

Fans shouldn't assume that the returning welterweight has lost his focus, if he's lost ring time, however. " Just because I'm not getting punched around every day, doesn't mean that I'm not focused on what I'm doing," he maintained.

Diaz' last two bouts, against St. Pierre and Carlos Condit were for titles. He lost both of those fights on the scorecards but insists that he'd like to fight for a title again.

"I'd like to fight for the title. That would be a big deal. I think that would be worth fighting for," he said.

It's clear that Diaz believes that he's paid enough dues, throughout his career, to warrant nothing but big fights from here on out. It's also clear that he's a big name in MMA and one of the rare fighters that riles up emotions in fans and generates a great deal of interest in fights.

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Will Diaz face Anderson Silva [R] next? (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)

Will Diaz face Anderson Silva [R] next? (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)

As such, the controversial martial artist wants to make sure his time is well-spent. "I'f I'm not moving forward in this sport, than I don't need to be out there, making it through training camps to go and fight someone who is going to try and take my head off," he reasoned.

One such fighter could be long-time middleweight king Anderson Silva. Both fighters have expressed interest in the match up.

Silva is expected to return from his leg injuries in 2015, and Diaz has said that he'll likely return early that year, as well. Even though Diaz would be giving up a lot of size, he says a contest against "The Spider," would be "a great fight," and he likes how he'd match up against the striker.

"Stylistically, I think any kickboxers, that aren't wrestlers, are good match ups for me, most of the time," he said.

Whoever he fights next, Diaz promised not to change his style of perpetual motion and always going for the finish. He believes that many of his opponents have been rewarded by the judges for "running away," or "holding on to him," but Diaz can't bring himself to follow their lead.

"I could play that game, too," he said.

"But I've got to go home to a whole city of peoplewho are going to go. 'what the hell was that [expletive]?' So, I've got to keep it real and fight how I fight." 

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