Cesar Gracie, the manager and coach of former UFC welterweight title challenger, Nick Diaz, has confirmed that he expects his student and client to return to active competition before the end of his annum – following a September return to the Octagon last year.
Nick Diaz, a native of Stockton, California – made his first Octagon outing since January 2015 back in September, drawing former welterweight champion, Robbie Lawler in a five round sanctioned rematch on the main card of UFC 266.
Avenging an April 2004 knockout loss, Lawler stopped Diaz with strikes inside the opening minute of the third round of their middleweight clash.
Following the bout, Diaz told UFC color commentator and former two-weight champion, Daniel Cormier that he had expected a loss against Californian veteran, Lawler, and admitted that he had a switch-up with his camp and management team before the fight with the former titleholder, insisting that he was unsure why the fight had actually come to fruition.
According to his manager and coach, Gracie, however, he expects former WEC and Strikeforce champion, Diaz to feature in the Octagon again – before the end of this year, in fact.
“Look for @nickdiaz209 (Nick Diaz) to fight by the end of the year,” Cesar Gracie posted on his official Instagram page, accompanied by a photo of Diaz with the Strikeforce welterweight championship.
Nick Diaz was urged to consider his fighting future by UFC leader, Dana White
Following Diaz’s return against Lawler, UFC president, Dana White maintained that the Stockton fan-favorite looked “incredible” considering his seven-year layoff from the sport, but then claimed later in the year that he was not interested in seeing Diaz fight professionally again.
“Regardless of how good he looked (against Robbie Lawler) or what he did after such a huge layoff, I don’t think Nick Diaz should fight (again),” Dana White said. “It’s not that I was in favor of it. He’s a grown man and can do whatever he wants to do. I just don’t think that Nick does it because he loves it. I think Nick does it because he has to do it. I don’t know, man. People always ask me, ‘What’s the key to success?’ It’s all about being happy and doing what you love.”
September knockout loss to Lawler came as Diaz’s third blemish in his most recent four Octagon walks, with his most recent win coming back in 2011 where he landed a comprehensive unanimous decision victory over former lightweight and welterweight champion, B.J. Penn.