Yes, you read the headline correctly – Nick Diaz is back in the lineup for UFC 137 but will take on B.J. Penn rather than face welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre as originally expected.

The shocking news was revealed by Dana White through Twitter where the UFC President commented, “This is crazy but here we go again! You wanted it so you got it.”

Diaz was removed from the main event match-up with St. Pierre earlier this week after failing to show up for a pair of press conferences, most recently missing one on Wednesday where Carlos Condit was ultimately announced as the enigmatic Californian’s replacement.

In a strange twist, Penn had previously been set to take on “The Natural Born Killer” at the October 29 event meaning he was temporarily left without an opponent due to the actions of the very individual he will now be facing in Condit’s place.

Penn should provide an interesting challenge for Diaz based on his crisp striking and comparably slick ground game though the former double-division champion has also struggled at 170 pounds going 1-1-1 in his last three fights at the weight (a loss to GSP, a win over Matt Hughes, and most recently a Draw against Jon Fitch).

In addition to the foursome of fearsome former title-holders, UFC 137 will also feature Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic vs. Roy Nelson, Dennis Siver vs. Donald Cerrone, and Cheick Kongo vs. Matt Mitrione.


MMATraining Take: Let me preclude this by saying I think Diaz vs. Penn will be a fantastic fight. Both are fearless and tough as nails. The stare-down alone should be worth the price of admission. However, I think it sends a terrible message to reward Diaz with another major fight when he screwed your main event over. As good as Condit might be, Diaz vs. St. Pierre was one of the most anticipated fights in a long time and it went to waste because Diaz was too lazy/anxious/etc. to get on a plane and meet the demands of a professional athlete. And what price did he pay? A slap on the wrist at best.