Fan favorite Nick Diaz returned to the octagon for the first time since January 2015 in a rematch with former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler at UF 266 on Sept. 25 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Diaz defeated Lawler when they first fought at UFC 47 in April 2004, but came up short last Saturday against “Ruthless.” The 38-year old Diaz wasn’t his old self but definitely showed glimpses of the Diaz we’ve grown accustomed to seeing.
UFC president Dana White felt that Diaz looked incredible considering how many years it’s been since Diaz competed.
“I thought Nick Diaz looked incredible considering he hasn’t fought in five years,” White said following this week’s Dana White’s Contender Series event. “With a five-year layoff, I thought he unbelievable.”
Diaz looked to move a little slower than he used to but speed was never something that he have on his side. Through two rounds, Diaz looked like Diaz for the most part. Lawler ended up stopping Diaz in the third round after knocking Diaz to a knee with punches.
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“Those two went to war,” White said. “The fight itself exceeded my expectations because Nick hadn’t fought in five years. I just thought Robbie was going to go out there and buzzsaw through him, and that wasn’t the case.”
Whether we’ll see the older Diaz brother back in the octagon is a question White didn’t know the answer to. Diaz is still a popular figure that has an almost cult-like fanbase drawn to his toughness, willingness to buck the system, and candid honesty.
“I don’t know. I honestly don’t know the answer to that question,” White said. “He looked damn good. That kid’s got a massive heart. He’s obviously a super talented fighter, and I was impressed.”