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Nate Diaz Returns, Faces Michael Johnson at UFC on FOX 17 (and Other UFC on FOX 17 Fight Bookings)

(Oh gee, you think, Wikipedia?!)

On the heels of a technical draw with Khabib Nurmagomedov’s crew in the WSOF lobby, it appears that Nate Diaz is once again ready to do some fighting *inside* the octagon. You know, for money this time, because apparently the royalty checks he’s collecting for being the first guy to use the middle finger as a taunt aren’t quite cutting it.

A little over a year removed from his last actual in-ring confrontation (a one-sided decision loss to Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC on FOX 13), Diaz will return to the octagon at UFC on FOX 17 in December, facing rising contender turned recent robbery victim Michael Johnson.

Diaz was briefly linked to a welterweight bout with Matt Brown earlier this year, but the fight was scrapped when 209′s finest announced that the UFC had never actually contacted him about said fight. My guess is that his excuse went a little something like this…

Johnson, on the other hand, had put together a respectable four fight win streak dating back to 2013 — including wins over Joe Lauzon and Edson Barboza (among others) — and seemed all but destined for a title shot in 2016. That was until fate threw a wrench in his plans in the form of Beneil Dariush, or perhaps more appropriately, in the form of the MMA judges on hand at Fight Night 73 earlier this month, who inexplicably awarded Dariush with a split decision victory over Johnson despite “The Menace” all but completely dominating the fight.

So in one corner, you’ve got an eager, hungry competitor looking to get back on the path to a title shot, and in the other, you’ve got a street brawling Diaz bro who’s dropped 3 out of his past 4 and could not give less of a fuck about a title shot if it came rolled in a Zig Zag with a side of Funyuns. Anyone care to take a guess at how the betting lines will look for this one?

Also on tap for UFC on FOX 17 main card are a pair of middleweight matchups. First up, our boy Tamdan “The Barn Cat” McCrory makes his UFC return against TUF 18 alum turned BloodyElbow contributor Josh Samman. Although we may not endorse McCrory in any way, shape, or form, this is as good a time as any for the Great Site Wars to begin, so if anyone from BE is looking to throw down ipecac bets on this thing, you know where to find us.

Also set for UFC on FOX 17 will be a middleweight clash between the struggling CB Dollaway and the I-Thought-He-Was-Retiring-Oh-God-Why-Isn’t-He-Retiring Nate Marquardt. The TUF 7 runner up is currently on the heels of his first two-fight skid since 2011 (with losses to Lyoto Machida and Michael Bisping), but it was Marquardt’s last performance against that really left us wondering if we’d ever see him in the octagon again. If you recall, Marquardt’s corner threw in the towel in between the second and third round of his fight with Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 188 after Nate more or less admitted that he had had enough.

Perhaps Marquardt’s hoping to go out on a win, or at least a more convincing performance against Dollaway here? I can only hope so, because the last thing this sport needs is a legend of the game who has to be forced into retirement. (Looking at you, Big Nog. You break-a my heart against the Skyscraper.)

UFC on FOX 17 transpires on Dec. 19 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.

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