It only took 17 years, but the UFC is running it back. When Nick Diaz and Robbie Lawler first met, they were young guns with everything to prove. The two men faced off for the first time, in the Octagon, at UFC 47 in 2004, where Diaz picked up a second round KO victory.
Lawler, then a Miletich Fighting Systems prodigy, had started his MMA career just three years prior, and was viewed as one of the top rising talents for the Zuffa promotion—after picking up 4 wins in his first five fights (with an injury TKO loss to Pete Spratt in the middle). Also three years into his career, it was just the second fight of Nick Diaz’s UFC run, having picked up an armbar victory over Jeremy Jackson in his debut.
By 2009 both men would find themselves in Strikeforce after several years of fighting around the world, including Pride and Showtime MMA predecessor Elite XC. Diaz returned to the UFC in 2011, Lawler in 2013. But, through all their parallel career moves, they never managed to meet inside the cage again.
TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter reports, however, that the rematch almost two decades in the making is finally coming together. Multiple sources have since confirmed that the UFC is targeting Diaz vs. Lawler 2 for the co-main event of UFC 266 on September 25th. No location for the fight card has been made official, but the PPV is expected to be headlined by a featherweight title fight between recent TUF coaches Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega.
For Diaz, this bout would be his first return to competition since seemingly retiring from MMA after a (later overturned) decision loss to Anderson Silva in 2015. Lawler currently finds himself on a four-fight losing streak, stretching back to a 2017 loss to Rafael Dos Anjos. He last appeared inside the Octagon in August of last year, losing a unanimous decision to Neil Magny. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more fight booking news as the card approaches.