After six years away from the sport (and much that time spent enjoying the nightlife), Nick Diaz returned to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and put on quite the performance at UFC 266 last night (Sat., Sept. 25, 2021).
The fight against Robbie Lawler didn’t go his way — Lawler punished Diaz with relentless body shots and forced the Stockton native to quit 44 seconds into the third round — but for the time it lasted both fighters were throwing endlessly in an impressive display of martial arts (watch highlights here).
The ending was strange, though, and so was Diaz’s post-fight interview. Nick has never been one to give the most coherent of speeches, but speaking to Daniel Cormier he implied there was something sketchy going on behind the scenes that culminated in him losing.
“I had a long time off and I knew I had it coming,” Diaz said. “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.”
Nick’s cornerman and former UFC fighter, Jake Shields, expanded a bit on the issues Nick faced, claiming Diaz only had six weeks to prepare for the Lawler rematch.
Nick Diaz is a fucking legend— Jake Shields (@jakeshieldsajj) September 26, 2021
6 years off And six weeks to train and still makes fight of the night
Wanted to do a fight later but was pressured to take it before he was ready. People care about money not his health— Jake Shields (@jakeshieldsajj) September 26, 2021
Which is interesting because Nick himself posted about competing at UFC 266 back in mid-July, 10 weeks out from the event.
Nick had also been pushing UFC for a fight for several months, and met UFC President, Dana White, in May 2021 to try and secure a bout. So he was actively pursuing a return date for months prior to last night’s special five-round, co-co-main event.
There might be more to it than what we know now. It was curious to see Nick grab his knee after going down and refusing to stand up in the third ... was there an injury element to things as well? The last-minute switch from 170 to 185 pounds certainly raised a lot of eyebrows, and before you think Nick just didn’t realize he couldn’t get down in weight, take a look at this picture of him from April 2021 where he’s more Welterweight than Middleweight:
As usual, Nick is a bit of an enigma ... and honestly, that’s part of the show when it comes to the Diaz brothers fighting. Will he disappear again for five more years? Was that the last we’ll see of him in the cage? The elder Diaz skipped the post-fight press conference, so we only have earlier talk to go by.
“If I get my ass whooped, I want to come back right away,” Nick said in an interview during fight week. “If I get my ass whooped, I want to come right back.”
For complete UFC 266: “Volkanovski vs. Ortega” results and play-by-play, click HERE.