After six years away from the combat recreation, Nick Diaz mounted his MMA comeback in opposition to Robbie Lawler at UFC 266, a person he defeated 17 years in the past and one who he didn’t actually appear too thrilled to be combating once more.
Regardless of his questionable pre-fight remarks (see them here), Diaz stepped into the cage in opposition to his previous foe. And what we received was a pleasant back-and-forth combat earlier than it abruptly ended within the third spherical when Diaz determined he didn’t need to proceed.
And it was a great name.
For so long as the combat lasted each Diaz and Lawler put all of it on the road, exchanging continuous strikes, going toe-to-toe for about 11 minutes. However we will’t look the opposite manner and faux that Diaz wasn’t sluggish and that his punches lacked his trademark snap. However he nonetheless popped off his offense as greatest he might and gave us transient glimpses of the Diaz of previous, although he ate plenty of photographs for his efforts.
To that finish, whereas Lawler was unloading some good punches on the jiu-jitsu ace, Nick confirmed the center and sturdiness that made him a fan favourite … till he couldn’t anymore.
It was considerably of a weird ending, one which left the vast majority of combat followers dissatisfied for the straightforward incontrovertible fact that they needed extra. In any case, the combat was scheduled for 5 rounds for no cause in any respect aside from to see extra of Nick.
The way through which the combat ended introduced everybody again to this pre-fight interview the place Diaz led followers to consider that he was combating more-so to please different individuals than himself. Whereas he modified his tune a couple of days later, the considered him not desirous to be there was already embedded in individuals’s minds.
And taking a knee shortly after consuming a proper hook solely added gas to the fireplace.
Diaz didn’t have something to show on Saturday night time and to be sincere, he seemed extra like somebody who was fulfilling contractual obligations versus somebody who truly needed to compete for sheer ardour and pleasure. His post-fight feedback and his teammate’s tweet solely strengthen that idea.
Misplaced in all of the Diaz hoopla is Lawler, who isn’t getting practically sufficient credit score for his efficiency. Positive, he’s been extra energetic than Diaz, however he hadn’t competed in a yr and misplaced 4 in a row previous to final weekend. Folks could not understand that Lawler has 20 years within the combat recreation, identical to Diaz, is now 39 years previous (Diaz is 38) and has extra fights below his belt than the Stockton slugger.
My level is, he seemed like somebody who truly needed to be within the cage.
I used to be as excited as anybody to see Diaz on the market if nothing greater than for nostalgia functions, however I additionally didn’t anticipate him to be the fighter of previous (or to see him wave off the combat). If he doesn’t compete once more I might be completely fantastic with that call. And that’s not criticizing a legend of the game who put all of it on the road for years simply because he misplaced a step or two.
Quite the opposite, I merely don’t need to see him take anymore pointless injury when he has nothing left to show. He entertained us maybe one last time and that ought to be ok for followers and for the individuals round him, UFC included.
We all know he isn’t the fighter he as soon as was, so let’s not attempt to pressure him to be.