UFC 266: Watch Nick Diaz and Robbie Lawler’s first face off for much-anticipated rematch

UFC legends Nick Diaz and Robbie Lawler face off before media for the first time before their anticipated rematch this Saturday. 

No words can capture an emotional reunion after 17 years, which is likely why Nick Diaz sized up Robbie Lawler in silence during their first-ever face-off before their UFC 266 rematch on Saturday.

Diaz, who hasn’t fought against Lawler since 2004, glared him down as the two faced each other, then the media crowd, on Thursday. Diaz threw up his fists as the crowd chanted his name, which Lawler stood stoically with balled fists behind his back.

Aside from the fact that these are two of the biggest names in UFC, the Diaz-Lawler rematch is a must-watch because it heralds Diaz’ first time entering the ring in six years.

Nick Diaz and Robbie Lawler face off before first rematch in 17 years

Diaz’s career has been surrounded by controversy since his last fight, which took place on Jan. 31, 2015. After losing to Anderson Silva by unanimous decision, Diaz tested positive for marijuana for that fight, then again in Sept. 2015 at UFC 183, resulting in a five-year suspension.

“They’ve done everything they could to keep me from proving to the world that I’m the best fighter in the world, which I am,” Diaz said upon first news of his suspension.

Diaz fought to have his suspension reduced to 18 months, and it was officially lifted in Aug. 2016. Still, Diaz has refused to fight since 2015, and many believed he would never fight again.

Diaz refused to fight largely due to his frustration with weed being a banned substance in UFC. But with Nevada declaring weed a non-performance enhancing drug this January, the UFC legalized marijuana use for MMA athletes, and Diaz now returns to the ring to face a familiar foe.

The last time Diaz and Lawler saw one another, Diaz knocked out Lawler quickly in the second round.

Diaz isn’t the only one in his family to light up the ring: his brother, Nate Diaz, has made a name for himself in recent years. It was Nate who famously defeated Connor McGregor as a replacement fighter in 2016, all while his brother Nick served his suspension. Still, older brother Nick remains the more decorated fighter as a former welterweight champion in Strikeforce, WEC and IFC.

At Nick’s last-minute request, Saturday’s fight was switched to 185 pounds instead of 170 pounds.

Whether this signals a full return to the Octagon for Diaz or not remains to be seen, said UFC president Dana White in a TMZ interview this week.

“I don’t know. I never know that either. We’ll take it one fight at a time,” White said.

Published at Fri, 24 Sep 2021 00:19:00 +0000

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