“I would have gone back to boxing. If I had my chance to do it over again, I would go back to the boxing contract. It would have paid me more money, and I would have took my punches win or lose, and just do my job, fight and get paid… Later on, I’m sure they would have me back here or somewhere. You want to see a pro boxer fight MMA? Now you have yourself a high-level pro boxer. In my opinion, I don’t know, I don’t think about it till it’s all over with but I would have made plenty of money in boxing and would have made plenty of money later coming back so it definitely would have worked out if I had done what I set out to do and gone to pro boxing for a while.”

— Nick Diaz telling reporters that he regrets choosing the UFC over boxing

*Sigh* … I guess we shouldn’t be surprised since the reason he chose the UFC over boxing in the first place was to fight Georges St. Pierre in a big money main event. When he lost that seven-figure payday, I guess boxing started looking pretty good again.

I really don’t know enough about the offers he had to know if Diaz would have made more money for a pro boxing bout than he will against BJ Penn this weekend, but Nick still has a golden opportunity ahead of him in the UFC if he applies himself enough to capitalize on it.

Love or hate him, Diaz is a polarizing figure who draws tons of attention (even when he does nothing at all) and that’s not something you can say about the majority of fighters in the UFC. Only a select few like Chuck Liddell, Georges St. Pierre and Brock Lesnar have truly captivated audiences on a mass scale and as a result made the biggest paydays the sport has ever seen. Diaz isn’t there yet, but if he keeps winning like he has, keeps being himself and shows up to enough media obligations to keep the UFC happy, I definitely think he has the potential to make the kind of money those guys have.

If he ever reaches that level, maybe then he’ll realize that boxing wasn’t the best idea after all. Well, come to think of it, this is Nick Diaz we’re talking about, so maybe not.

Image via Esther Lin for Strikeforce/Showtime