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Shields says Diaz ‘looking a lot better’ than he did last year, teases 2023 return

“He’s looking a lot better, training again. I think we’re going to see Nick back.”

CBS Media Day for “CBS Elite XC Saturday Night Fights”
Jake Shields and Nick Diaz at an Elite XC event in 2008.
Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Jake Shields says Nick Diaz is looking a lot better than he did in 2021 and that he expects the former Strikeforce welterweight champion and MMA fan favorite to return to the UFC next year, teasing a potential comeback during an interview with Inside Fighting (h/t MMA Fighting).

“I think so,” Shields said when asked about Diaz fighting in 2023. “He’s looking a lot better, training again. I think we’re going to see Nick back.”

Shield’s comments come after Diaz told reporters earlier this week that he was looking to make a comeback next year against former UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, saying “you can see me back on top in 2023, I’m making a comeback. I’m going to be quicker than ever, stronger than ever, better than ever—I’m just gonna be a whole new me. Whoever is on top at the time [I want]—preferably Israel Adesanya, if he gets his title back.”

Shields, a longtime teammate of Diaz, added that Nick ‘looks far better’ than he did prior to his TKO loss to Robbie Lawler at UFC 266, which was the last time he fought in the Octagon.

“Nick now looks far better than he did when he fought Robbie,” Skrap Pack member Shields wrote on Twitter.

Despite being inactive for a number of years, Diaz (26-10, 2 NC) remains a highly popular and influential figure in MMA, generating buzz whenever he makes the headlines. He has recorded notable victories over the likes of B.J. Penn, Frank Shamrock, and Lawler, and has won titles in Strikeforce, WEC, and IFC.