UFC 266 marked the first time Nick Diaz stepped into the Octagon since UFC 183 back in early 2015, and for a guy who’s been riding the pine for the last six years, he sure put on a helluva performance. Unfortunately for the pride of Stockton, he got the “Ruthless” version of Robbie Lawler and not the low-output zombie who’s been sleepwalking his way through his last couple of fights.
The result was a third round technical knockout victory (highlights here).
Lawler (29-15, 1 NC) snapped a four-fight losing streak and avenged his knockout loss to Diaz at UFC 47: “It’s On” way back in April 2004. I’m not sure if this was a contest that motivated him or he just got tired of losing, but the Lawler who showed up at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Sept. 25 is going to be a problem for anyone at 170 pounds.
Let’s just hope “Ruthless” doesn’t take another year off.
“That’s what I expected,” Lawler said after the fight. “I expected him to bring it to me. That was a fun fight. That’s the shit I like to do. I caught him with a couple good body shots. He did a good job. I was just relentless tonight. He’s tough as hell. I’ve always had respect for Diaz. He brings it every single time he steps in the ring. I really appreciate him. He actually got me going.”
He got the fans going as well, which is why UFC put their fight on PPV.
It’s hard to predict what could be next for Diaz. The former Strikeforce welterweight champion demonstrated that he’s still got the skills to be competitive, assuming the promotion matches him against fighters who are of similar age and mileage. In addition, Diaz would benefit greatly from more activity, from both a competitive and financial standpoint.
He did say he was “glad to be back,” so maybe he’s sticking around?
“I’m glad at least I put on a show,” Diaz said. “A lot of stress coming into this one. I don’t have no excuses. I had a long time off and I knew I had it coming. I don’t know how this fight got set up. I had to switch up my whole management and set up, the way the fight got set up. It was just a bum rap. No excuses. I had it coming and he was in great shape. I knew I was leaking here, so I didn’t want to make too much of a mess. But I’m glad to be back. I’m glad I put on a little show for you.”
Their middleweight fight was scheduled for five rounds but only lasted three.
Hopefully with some more time and better preparation Diaz can make the trip back down to welterweight where he belongs. Prior to his UFC 266 comeback, Diaz completed a test cut to see if he could make the weight and everything seemed to be on point. Mike Perry, Kevin Lee, Donald Cerrone, and Geoff Neal would all make suitable opponents, schedule permitting.
For complete UFC 266: “Volkanovski vs. Ortega” results and play-by-play, click HERE!