One of the most popular fighters in UFC history is on his way back to the octagon.
Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Nick Diaz is making a comeback, and will face off against old adversary Robbie Lawler at UFC 266 on September 25, per ESPN and Yahoo Sports.
The pair first clashed at UFC 47 on April 2, 2004 in a fight that Diaz won by second-round knockout. Now, 17 years later, they will do battle in the octagon once again in a special five-round co-main event clash.
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Joining them on the card is a pair of world title fights, with featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski putting his 145-pound title on the line against rival TUF coach and longtime contender Brian Ortega, while women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko will look to register her sixth consecutive title defence when she faces Lauren Murphy in a 125-pound title clash.
But, while the two title fights will attract plenty of attention, hardcore fans will undoubtedly be drawn toward Diaz’s return.
The Stockton native hasn’t fought since UFC 183 in January 2015, where he initially lost a decision to former UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva. However, that result was later wiped out and changed to a no contest after Silva failed a drug test.
Diaz’s last win came back in October 2011 when he outpointed B.J. Penn at UFC 137. And, almost a decade removed from that victory, Diaz is set to return against former UFC welterweight champion Lawler, who is suffering the worst run of form of his career. Lawler lost his title to Tyron Woodley at UFC 201 in 2016, but bounced back with victory over Donald Cerrone a UFC 214 a year later. But since then he has suffered defeats to Rafael dos Anjos, Ben Askren, Colby Covington and Neil Magny.
But now, Lawler and Diaz are all set for a real throwback fight as they get set to renew their rivalry on the big stage on September 25.