UFC 266: Nick Diaz’s ‘incredible’ training and hunger has won Dana White over ahead of UFC return

A ton can improve in 6-and-a-half decades. Above the study course of eighty three fork out-for each-check out events, UFC gold has altered palms no fewer than 43 instances, whilst a legion of new stars have manufactured their name on the most significant of stages.

Yet, regardless of his aggravating exile from the sport, Nick Diaz continues to be a bona fide UFC superstar. Two title fights might be having position at UFC 266 this weekend but, make no oversight, all eyes will be on the 38-12 months-aged as he can make his extensive-awaited return to the Octagon.

It has been a extensive hiatus for the Stockton-born lover-favourite. Diaz very last competed towards UFC legend Anderson Silva at UFC 183 in January 2015, the place he at first lost by unanimous selection.

After a six-and-a-half-year exile, Nick Diaz makes his return to the UFC this weekend

Immediately after a 6-and-a-half-12 months exile, Nick Diaz can make his return to the UFC this weekend

On the other hand, Silva tested positive in pre-struggle drug screening for drostanolone, androstane, oxazepem, and temazepam, rendering the struggle a no contest.

But it was negative news for Diaz, way too. The 38-12 months-aged had tested positive for marijuana metabolites for a 3rd time in his MMA occupation and in September 2015 was handed a five-12 months ban from the sport and a US$165,000 (£120,000) wonderful.

That ban was appealed and lowered to an eighteen-month suspension, whilst the wonderful was lowered to $a hundred,000 (£73,000). 

Even so, it meant that he could not corner his youthful brother, Nate, for his two blockbuster showdowns with Conor McGregor in 2016.

Diaz was last in action against Anderson Silva at UFC 183, which was later ruled a no contest

Diaz was very last in motion towards Anderson Silva at UFC 183, which was later on dominated a no contest

The 38-year-old tested positive for marijuana and served an 18-month suspension from MMA

The 38-12 months-aged tested positive for marijuana and served an eighteen-month suspension from MMA

Because then, Diaz has appeared some way off generating a UFC return. The American has extensive been not comfortable with the spotlight and has spoken about his struggles in handling media obligations and general public talking.

For UFC president Dana White, it is Diaz’s preventing affliction that has been the major supply of his problem, with the supremo on a regular basis shooting down the idea of the 38-12 months-aged setting foot in the Octagon.

‘My entire detail with Nick Diaz is I just question how negative he seriously needs to struggle,’ White said previously this 12 months. 

‘We got collectively, we had a terrific discussion, talked about a achievable comeback for him. I just really don’t know. We are going to see how it performs out this summer months and the rest of this 12 months.’ 

Diaz's younger brother Nate has risen to fame while the 38-year-old has been sidelined

Diaz’s youthful brother Nate has risen to fame whilst the 38-12 months-aged has been sidelined

Offered these types of a extensive lay off and Diaz’s advancing decades, White had expressed fears that the veteran does not have the starvation required to contend at the prime level. 

‘When you hear him [Diaz] discuss about preventing, you hear him discuss about the sport, and I sit down everyday or discuss to everyday [with] hungry, young savages that want to crack into the prime-10, turn into world champions, all that stuff. 

‘Nick Diaz has carried out it all, found it all, he’s been in large fights, I just really don’t see that in him when I discuss to him,’ White included.

Yet it takes two to tango, and as was the circumstance 17 decades in the past, all streets lead to Robbie Lawler.  

If White were to give an example of the sort of fighters he describes as ‘young savages’, he could be tricky pressed to discover a improved definition than Diaz and Lawler 209 months in the past. 

Dana White has been hesitant to all
ow Diaz a return to the sport, citing a lack of 'hunger'

Dana White has been hesitant to enable Diaz a return to the sport, citing a absence of ‘hunger’

However White has been stunned by Diaz's 'incredible' training. The UFC veteran recently trained with heavyweight champion Tyson Fury

On the other hand White has been shocked by Diaz’s ‘incredible’ teaching. The UFC veteran just lately qualified with heavyweight champion Tyson Fury

Lawler had emerged as the discuss of the welterweights, with his freakish knockout power and ruthless style looking at him dubbed as the foreseeable future of the division.

Diaz, generating only his next UFC appearance, was mostly created off by the masses with his jiu-jitsu-weighty approach unfavourable among the lovers and pundits. 

‘It was like, there was no way I was going to gain due to the fact I am preventing Robbie Lawler,’ Diaz mirrored. ‘So when I went out there I did what I understood, and I spooked him.’

And spook him he did. Diaz left Lawler – commonly unrelenting in his ahead strain – induce shy as he secured a sensational next-spherical knockout to deliver shockwaves through the UFC. 

All roads lead back to Robbie Lawler, who Diaz defeated 17 years ago in a seismic result

All streets lead back to Robbie Lawler, who Diaz defeated 17 decades in the past in a seismic consequence

Diaz’s gain is continue to regarded as just one of the finest performances in UFC background and, with that, Diaz had declared himself as a serious player in the sport.

Because that well-known night at Mandalay Bay, Diaz and Lawler have fought a mixed sixty fights, with the latter profitable the welterweight title in 2014. 

It is reasonable to say that at 38 and 39 respectively, the duo’s peak decades are powering them, but Diaz believes that obtaining not taken any punishment for 6-and-a-half decades, he is in improved affliction than his rival, who is at the moment on a 4-struggle losing run.

The Californian on a regular basis trains and shared a health club session with boxing superstar Tyson Fury previously this 12 months.  

The 38-year-old will bid to prove he can still compete at the top level at UFC 266 this weekend

The 38-12 months-aged will bid to establish he can continue to contend at the prime level at UFC 266 this weekend

Diaz, who is vegan, said: ‘I’m going to be seriously unstoppable obtaining manufactured the suitable choices. I’m going to beat Robbie again.’

White has been absolutely received in excess of by Diaz’s generate and discovered that the veteran is endeavor ‘incredible’ get the job done in the health club. 

‘I’m hearing tales of him obtaining outstanding sparring classes, the guy’s continue to undertaking triathlons,’ he said. 

‘A ton of instances what occurs is if a person leaves for a whilst, they really don’t get the job done out and they really don’t do just about anything for a handful of decades. Not like going to the health club and mess about, but they are not teaching at that level. This kid’s a world class athlete. So, I really don’t know, we are going to see.’ 

Six-and-a-half decades out of motion has left Diaz in need of a kickstart. Lawler, then, provides the ideal possibility to establish he continues to be a seismic challenge to his UFC rivals, just as he did 17 decades in the past.