Seeing Nick Diaz back inside the Octagon brought back a flood of fond memories for fans in attendance at UFC 266. But for some, that walk out onto the arena floor and into the cage was as far as the nostalgia went.
The elder Stockton bad boy did have his moments in his rematch against former champion Robbie Lawler. But in a rare occurrence in a Diaz brother’s fight, Nick refused to answer referee Jason Herzog’s call to get up after being knocked down early in the third round.
The fight ended via TKO, a third in Diaz’s lengthy career.
Observers like City Kickboxing coach Eugene Bareman were left disappointed by how the fight ended. But at the same time, he believes the fight shouldn’t have happened in the first place.
“I came through the ranks watching Nick Diaz. And a guy who’s been out that long and had apparently six weeks to train with, was it six years, I think? And then why did he only have a six-week training camp? That’s crazy. You can’t do that to someone,” Bareman told Submission Radio.
“As good a fighter as he is, which he showed, he should never have been in there. He should never have been in there. And we can speculate about the reasons he was in there. He was obviously a big draw, he brings a lot of eyes to the sport to the pay-per-view and stuff.
“But man, you can’t have six years off, jump in against someone who’s been regularly fighting, someone who’s as good as Robbie Lawler, do a six-week training camp and come in there and expect to perform.”
Bareman has his own speculations on why Diaz performed the way he did. But he first wants to see the former Strikeforce champ back in top form before believing any of them.
“It was only the legend of Nick Diaz and just his natural ability and heart that kept him in that fight as long as it did. But you could see that he was just out of shape and he just wasn’t conditioned or ready for the fight. And I’m not gonna speculate whether that’s because he’s gotten old,” he said.
“For the moment, it’s a better guess for me to say it was just because he had six years off and he had a piss poor training camp. If he has that magnificent training camp, gets plenty of notice, he has one fight under his belt, and then he comes in and has a fight and you can see some neurological signs of deterioration and you can see some of those things, those telltale signs of someone who’s a little bit too old for the sport...
“If you see that in his next fight after his training camp, then you can start to make some conclusions on that. But for now, the reason we saw what we saw, I think we have to put it down to someone who had six years off and a very poor training camp. You can’t come to the conclusion that it’s just ‘cause he’s old or neurologically damaged.”
Diaz’s last win happened in 2011 against B.J. Penn. It was followed by two straight losses to Carlos Condit and Georges St-Pierre, respectively, before having his 2015 loss against Anderson Silva overturned to a No Contest. He currently holds a record of 26-10 (2 NC).