UFC president Dana White thinks Nick Diaz looked ‘incredible’ in his comeback fight against Robbie Lawler at UFC 266, but some fighters think the former Strikeforce welterweight champion looked slow, rusty, and out of shape.
Former UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre, for example, thinks Diaz didn’t look himself last month and hinted that his best years might be behind him.
“It was a tough night for him because he came back after six or seven years,” GSP told Yahoo’s Kevin Iole in a recent interview (h/t Sports Keeda). “It was a long, long time. Nobody can come back as good as they were before, after that much time. I’m under the impression that Nick left a lot of money on the table, unfortunately for him, because maybe his best years are behind him. For sure he was rusty.”
With that said St-Pierre, who beat Diaz back in 2013, believes the Stockton bad boy could come back stronger if he really wanted to.
GSP himself won the UFC middleweight title after a four-year layoff. ‘Rush’ submitted Michael Bisping in the third round of their middleweight title bout at UFC 217 to become a two-weight champion.
“Maybe we haven’t seen the best out of him yet,” St-Pierre, who was recently inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame, said of Diaz. “Maybe he’s gonna come back and get better. I fought after more than four years, I can tell you it’s very hard. There are a lot of things that you cannot do in training. You cannot replicate in training what happens in a fight. The only way to get it back is through the experience of real competition and I think he can be better than he was. I think he can come back better if he wants to.”
Diaz lost to Lawler via third-round TKO and said in his post-fight interview that he knew he had it coming. The 38-year-old combat sports veteran hasn’t won a fight in almost ten years but is still considered one of the hottest commodities in the sport.