A refresher course on Nick Diaz’s career ahead of UFC 266.
UFC welterweight Nick Diaz has had quite the roller coaster ride during his professional fighting career.
Diaz is almost a storybook character when looking at the history of the UFC. He’s had multiple climbs and falls during his multiple tenures with the promotion, including falling just short of UFC gold.
It’s been nearly seven years since UFC fans have watched Diaz compete in the octagon.
It was unclear whether or not Diaz would eventually return to fighting after serving a long drug-related suspension.
After a long journey back to the cage, Diaz will return in a rematch against Robbie Lawler at UFC 266. Let’s take a look at Diaz’s wild career.
Nick Diaz made his MMA debut in 2001 with IFC
Diaz made his first walk to the cage in 2001 after signing with the International Fighting Championship. Diaz won his debut against Mike Wick by getting a triangle choke submission.
Diaz made his way up the regional ranks by utilizing his strong Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Diaz’s boxing would start to take shape when he knocked out Jeremy Jackson at IFC 18.
Nick Diaz won his UFC debut and followed it up by knocking out Robbie Lawler
Diaz completed his trilogy with Jackson at UFC 44 en route to a third-round armbar finish. It was an ideal start to Diaz’s first run with the UFC.
Diaz faced Lawler at UFC 47 in a fight in which he was a huge underdog. Diaz began to find his range before dealing a knockout blow to Lawler midway through the second round.
A lot of UFC fans before the fight had no idea who Diaz was and what he would become as one of the biggest fan favorites in the promotion’s history.
Nick Diaz left the UFC after a losing streak, earned Strikeforce welterweight title
Despite the incredible finish over Lawler, Diaz wasn’t able to maintain success during his first run with the UFC. He would go on to lose a series of unanimous decisions to Diego Sanchez, Sean Sherk, and Joe Riggs.
Diaz fought in brief stints with PRIDE and EliteXC before finding a home with Strikeforce. This would prove to be a perfect move for Diaz who would go on to earn the Strikeforce welterweight title.
Diaz would defend the welterweight belt twice before the UFC called once again.
Nick Diaz returned to the UFC after the promotion bought Strikeforce
After Dana White and Zuffa LLC purchased Strikeforce, they brought the promotion’s roster to the UFC. Diaz would quickly make the most of his with a dominant win over multiple division champion B.J. Penn at UFC 137.
Diaz was on the cusp of UFC gold once again but lost to Carlos Condit for the interim belt at UFC 143. He would serve a temporary suspension for marijuana before getting a shot against welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre at UFC 158.
Diaz would lose by unanimous decision to St-Pierre’s relentless grappling and clinch work. He moved up to middleweight to fight Anderson Silva in the UFC 183 main event, losing yet another decision which was later ruled a no-contest.
Nick Diaz will face Robbie Lawler again at UFC 266 in his first fight since 2015
Diaz’s loss to Silva left many questions unanswered regarding his future in the UFC. His career would be put on hold after testing positive for marijuana yet again in a post-fight drug test. NSAC would suspend him for five years.
Diaz met with White during a brief face-to-face meeting at UFC 261, making his intentions clear that he wanted to return to fighting. He will face Lawler in a rematch 17 years in the making at UFC 266.