Nick Diaz had no business competing at UFC 266 on a six-week training camp, considering his long lay-off, says Eugene Bareman.
Diaz vs. Robbie Lawler served as a marquee fight (watch highlights) on the main card of UFC 266, which took place inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sat., Sept. 25, 2021, via ESPN+ pay-per-view (PPV). Bareman — who coaches Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and UFC Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya — was critical of Diaz’s preparation following a seven-year hiatus.
“I’m a little bit disappointed, I guess,” Bareman told Submission Radio. “I mean, I came through the ranks watching Nick Diaz. And a guy who’s been out that long and apparently had six weeks to train with—Was it six years, I think? And then why did he only have a six-week training camp? That’s crazy. You can’t do that to someone.
“As good a fighter as he is, which he showed, he should never have been in there,” Bareman continued. “He should never have been in there. And we can speculate about the reasons he was in there. He was obviously a big draw, he brings a lot of eyes to the sport, to the pay-per-view and stuff, but you can’t have six years off, jump in against someone who’s been regularly fighting, someone who’s as good as Robbie Lawler, do a six-week training camp and come in there and expect to perform.”
Bareman did not want to speculate too much, but claimed it’s obvious that Diaz was not in optimal shape. In fact, Diaz was originally scheduled to compete at Welterweight before requesting a move to Middleweight during fight week (read details here).
“It was only the legend of Nick Diaz and just his natural ability and heart that kept him in that fight as long as it did,” Bareman said. “You could see that he was just out of shape and he just wasn’t conditioned or ready for the fight.
“I’m not gonna speculate whether that’s because he’s gotten old, for the moment it’s a better guess for me to say it was just because he had six years off and he had a p*ss-poor training camp. If he has that magnificent training camp, gets plenty of notice, he’s got one fight under his belt and then he comes in and has a fight and you can see some neurological signs of deterioration and you can see some of those things, those telltale signs of someone who’s a little bit too old for the sport. If you see that in his next fight after his training camp, then we can start to make some conclusions on that, but for now, the reason we saw what we saw I think we have to put it down to six years off and a very poor training camp. You can’t come to the conclusion that it’s just ‘cause he’s old or neurologically damaged.”
For complete UFC 266: “Volkanovski vs. Ortega” results and play-by-play, click HERE.