Nick Diaz certainly won’t be motivated by his love of the sport when he returns to the octagon tonight.
In a rematch some 17 years in the making, the 38-year old faces Robbie ‘Ruthless’ Lawler at UFC 266 in Las Vegas. The pair met in the same city way back in April 2004, when Diaz prevailed after a brutal second round knockout.
He last fought in January 2015 when he was beaten by Anderson Silva at UFC 183, only for the bout to be later declared a non-contest after Silva tested positive for drostanolone and androstane.
The older brother of Nate duly retired with a 26-9-2 record in MMA, but has now made a bizarre claim ahead of his comeback fight.
“I never enjoyed fighting,” he frankly told ESPN.
“It’s just something that I do. It’s just what I do. I tried to get away from it, but really it’s kind of inevitable. It is. All the people around me and all the money and sponsors, they won’t let me get away from fighting.
“There’s things I could do, but it’s not going to work out. I might as well just go and take my punches.”
Then when asked if what he likes about UFC, he added: “Nothing – nothing at all. This is not enjoyable. This whole thing is for everybody else.”
Despite his reservations, Diaz stated he still believed he was the best fighter in the world, but expressed anger that it was Lawler, 39, who he’d be facing as opposed to Nigerian fighter Kamaru Usman.
What do you make of the bizarre claims of Nick Diaz? Let us know in the comments section.
“I think I’ll beat the s*** out of Usman. I’ve got a better shot of beating Usman than I do Lawler, just because I already beat Lawler. It doesn’t make sense for me to go in there and fight Robbie Lawler again.
“I don’t know why I’m doing this,” he continued.
“This should not happen. Whoever set this up is an idiot. I don’t know why this is happening. I should be fighting Kamaru Usman and that’s it.”
Remarkably, Diaz also claimed that he wasn’t confident ahead of facing Lawler – and nor has he ever been when fighting.
The pair will fight on the undercard for the Alexander Volkanovski v Brian Ortega bout for the UFC featherweight title.
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Diaz’s quotes come after he left fans worried about his return after seeing footage of him shadow boxing.
The online video clip of him shadow boxing prompted many UFC fans to cast doubts over his physical condition heading into his comeback fight.
In the clip, Diaz appears alarmingly sluggish and one fan tweeted: “Am I seeing things or is he slow as hell there? Maybe it’s a mind game.”
“Man I hope this footage isn’t any sign of what we get Saturday, I’m already nervous,” wrote another.
Many fans also drew comparisons with the disastrous boxing return of Evander Holyfield this month, who suffered a first round defeat to another former UFC fighter in Vitor Belfort.