UFC president Dana White had high praise for one of the biggest names in the promotion.
On the main card of UFC 266, Nick Diaz made his return from a five-year hiatus to face Robbie Lawler in a feature bout scheduled for five rounds.
Despite not knowing what to really expect from the 38-year-old scrapper from Stockton, Calif., White was impressed with the performance of the elder Diaz brother.
“I thought Nick Diaz looked incredible considering he hasn’t fought in five years,” White told MMA Junkie and other media at the DWCS 41 post-fight news conference. “You never know what to get with the (Diaz) brothers, but let me tell you what, with a five-year layoff, I thought he looked unbelievable.”
The first few moments of the fight was a rocky start for Diaz, who opened the fight with a sloppy spinning kick attempt that prompted Lawler to unleash a series of punches. Diaz covered up during the first few seconds of the fight, but then began returning fire with accurate punches of his own. Turning back the clock, Diaz stood in the pocket with Lawler and traded strikes for the majority of the round.
“That first round, and I don’t know if you guys saw Robbie after the fight, but Robbie had freakin’ knots and lumps all over him. Those two went to war. The fight itself exceeded my expectations. …I thought Robbie was going to go out there and buzzsaw right through him and that was not the case.”
Although there were exciting moments, Diaz lost the fight via TKO in the third round, continuing his winless streak as he has failed to record a victory in his four previous walks to the cage. Diaz’s last win was against BJ Penn at UFC 137 in 2011. Regardless of his record in recent years, his loyal fanbase remains undeterred in their support. As for what’s next for Diaz, the UFC boss is uncertain.
“I don’t know,” White said when asked if Diaz will fight again in the UFC in the future. “I honestly don’t know the answer to that question, but he looked damn good. That kid has a massive heart and he’s obviously a super talented fighter, and I was impressed.”
Debuting in 2003, Diaz has competed under the UFC banner a total of 15 times, resulting in 7 wins, 7 losses, and one no contest.
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