Nick Diaz won over Dana White with an ‘unbelievable’ performance despite defeat as UFC president admits he ‘thought Robbie Lawler was going to go out and buzz-saw through him’ after six-year lay-off
- Nick Diaz had been out of action for six years before his defeat by Robbie Lawlor
- He retired in the third after a heavy onslaught but it was an entertaining fight
- Dana White had previously been skeptical about Diaz’s ability to compete again
- But he was impressed and said: ‘I thought Nick Diaz looked incredible’
Nick Diaz won over his toughest critic in defeat against Robbie Lawler at UFC 266.
Dana White had long been doubtful about the 38-year-old’s ability and desire to compete at the top level again after a six-year layoff.
But the UFC president was as gripped by the back-and-forth encounter as fans were with the two veterans putting on a superb show.
Nick Diaz (right) gave a great account of himself despite the defeat by Robbie Lawler
Dana White admitted he thought Diaz was ‘incredible’ considering his long layoff
‘I thought Nick Diaz looked incredible considering he hasn’t fought in five years,’ White admitted at a press conference for the Contender Series.
‘I don’t know what I was expecting. 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.
‘And I don’t know if you guys saw Robbie after the fight, but Robbie had freaking knots and lumps all over him. Those two went to war.
‘I thought Robbie was just going to go out there and buzz-saw through him — and that was not the case.’
Diaz defeated Lawler 17 years ago and their rematch was a staggering 17 years in the making but he has spent some of his prime years in the sporting wilderness while his younger brother Nate takes the limelight.
There was never any certainty that Diaz would come back at all and White previously expressed doubts, saying: ‘Just the amount of time that he’s [Nick Diaz has] taken off already.
‘When you hear him talk about fighting, when you hear him talk about sport… and I sit down daily or talk [everyday] to hungry, young savages that want to break into the top-10, become world champions, all that stuff, you know?
Diaz showed off his famed striking ability and it was a back-and-forth fight in Las Vegas
‘And Nick Diaz has done it all, seen it all, he’s been in big fights. I just don’t see that in him when I talk to him.’
And despite the nature of the finish, Diaz showed he has plenty of skill left on Saturday night, albeit with just a six week training camp behind him.
When asked about whether that was a swansong, White added: ‘I don’t know. I honestly don’t know the answer to that question, but he looked damn good. That kid’s got a massive heart, he’s obviously super talented fighter, and yeah, I was impressed.’
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