Robbie Lawler expects Nick Diaz to ‘attempt to beat my ass’

Robbie Lawler is getting ready for a greater model of Nick Diaz than anybody has ever seen at UFC 266.

Lawler (28-15 MMA, 13-9 UFC), a former UFC welterweight champion, is tasked with the project of welcoming Diaz (26-9 MMA, 7-6 UFC) again to the octagon from a virtually seven-year hiatus after they meet in a featured welterweight bout on the Sept. 25 pay-per-view card from T-Cell Area in Las Vegas. Prelims air on ESPNNews and stream on ESPN+.

The competition additionally doubles as an anticipated rematch. Lawler suffered a second-round knockout loss to Diaz at UFC 47 in April 2004 in what was his first profession stoppage as a result of strikes. The possibility to run it again excites Lawler, he mentioned, however it’s not one thing he was looking for out. He’s under no circumstances stewing over the result from 17 years in the past, and he mentioned he doesn’t take something constructive or damaging away from that have.

“Getting a combat, getting a win vs. him it doesn’t actually matter what occurred previously – 17 years later it’s nearly prefer it by no means occurred,” Lawler instructed MMA Junkie on Wednesday. “Clearly we’re very younger at the moment. He took the combat to me, hit me with some good photographs and it wasn’t my night time. I’ve grown a complete bunch. He’s developed his expertise. It’s a unique combat. Identical man, just a bit totally different.”

There may be loads of historic subtext to Lawler vs. Diaz 2. It’s the longest hole between a primary and second combat between athletes in UFC historical past, and it’ll additionally mark simply the second time the corporate has placed on a five-round combat that’s neither a title nor a predominant occasion.

Lawler mentioned didn’t hesitate to simply accept a five-round bout. And regardless of having 9 fights scheduled for 25 minutes throughout his UFC profession, he doesn’t assume it provides him a lot of a bonus, both.

Diaz is famously recognized for his sturdiness and cardio, and Lawler doesn’t anticipate a lot change, even with out having stepped within the octagon since January 2015. Diaz has skilled some troubling moments exterior the octagon throughout his layoff, however all indicators to him being in glorious situation forward of UFC 266.

Lawler mentioned he doesn’t foresee a dramatic drop-off in Diaz’s expertise after the break day, and in reality, thinks it’ll be an improve from what he’s displayed previously.

“I feel he’s been coaching this entire time,” Lawler mentioned. “He’s a man that likes to dabble, assist his brother out. He clearly has jiu-jitsu and a superb jiu-jitsu sport in addition to boxing. I feel he’s going to return in form and convey his instruments and attempt to beat my ass. … I feel he’s going to be in form, able to go 25 minutes. That’s his make-up. He involves combat. He likes to push tempo. He can go 25.”

Though a lot of the focus will rightfully revolve round Diaz’s comeback going into UFC 266, it’s an equally or arguably much more vital bout for Lawler’s profession. The 39-year-old has misplaced his previous 4 fights – albeit towards top-tier competitors in Neil Magny, Colby Covington, Ben Askren, and Rafael dos Anjos – and has only one win courting again to July 2016.

“Ruthless” hasn’t competed since August 2020, and mentioned at this level in his life he’s solely wanting to combat if it will get his juices flowing. The rematch with Diaz is one which ticked all of the bins for Lawler, and he has the utmost motivation to get again within the win column in a marquee bout.

“I feel it’s going to be an thrilling combat,” Lawler mentioned. “Nick all the time involves combat, he appears to be like to get in your face. He’s a very good counter-puncher. He’s in form. He can do all of it, too. Good floor sport, good stand-up. He involves combat and he’s in form. So I have to go on the market and ensure I’m crisp and sharp and getting in there and getting my blows in.”

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