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Former UFC welterweight title challenger Nick Diaz has ended his retirement and signed a three-fight deal with the promotion.

UFC officials today announced the deal, though financial terms of the contract weren’t disclosed.

He’s targeted for an early-2015 return.

“I’ve been doing a whole lot of not getting punched around-type stuff,” Diaz stated. “I’ve been staying in shape pretty good, doing a lot of running. It’s been a good experience having this much time off.”

Diaz (26-9 MMA, 7-6 UFC), though, suggested he could return even sooner.

“Next year I guess, whatever though,” he stated. “I can fight tomorrow, tonight. You have to do what you have to do. … [I came today] to sort things out with Dana White and Lorenzo [Fertitta].

“It was hard times for a little bit, but people act like I’ve been doing nothing. I’ve been getting some things done. Just because I’m not getting punched around every day doesn’t mean I’m not focused on what I’m doing. Now, here we are.”

Diaz, a former Strikeforce champion who’s had a rocky relationship with the uFC, has been on the sidelines since a failed bid to capture the UFC welterweight title from then-champ Georges St-Pierre in March 2013. The fight followed Diaz’s failed bid against Carlos Condit for an interim title, but he got the shot at St-Pierre anyway, partially because “GSP” requested.

UFC President Dana White previously said that Diaz had turned down multiple fight offers since the latest title loss. At one point, the UFC executive said he hadn’t given up the idea of the 30-year-old returning.

Despite his retirement, Diaz has often stayed in the news. Earlier this year, he suggested a comeback was imminent, though he later backed off the claim:

More recently, White expressed interest in a potential bout between Diaz and injured ex-middleweight champion Anderson Silva, though the talk ultimately fizzled. However, in today’s announcement, Diaz said it’s still a fight that interests him.

Just this past week, while criticizing Nick Diaz’s younger brother, disgruntled UFC lightweight Nate Diaz, White said the elder Diaz was still a “needle-mover” for the company and a top draw.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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