ESPN’s Ariel Helwani dropped an hour-long interview with Nick Diaz weeks after Nate Diaz lost against Jorge Masvidal back at UFC 244. It was quite clear that Nick Diaz wanted to avenge his brother’s loss against Masvidal, and called out Gamebred for his comments on his younger brother during the post-fight Octagon interview.
While there were rumors of a potential return to the Octagon, Nick Diaz appearing alongside ESPN fueled more fire. Two years later, Nick Diaz is back as he goes head to head against former rival Robbie Lawler in a rematch after 17 years.
A case can be made that the suspension and what followed stole from us what could have been the greatest moments for Nick Diaz’s fighting career. Having not fought since 2016, Diaz enters the Octagon after more than five years away from the cage. However, there are so many different feelings this time around. Diaz claims cornering his brother during his fight against Leon Edwards changed him. He added that if he could go back in time, he would rather stay away from the fight. So what changed for Nick Diaz that day?
Nick Diaz entered the UFC Octagon for the first time at UFC 263
Diaz made an appearance at UFC 261: Kamaru Usman vs Jorge Masvidal, lightening up the mood of many fight fans. Diaz cornered his little brother during the fight, standing near to the cage as Leon Edwards dominated Nate Diaz for the better part of five rounds.
The expression on Diaz’s face as he watched Nate Diaz and Leon Edwards exchanges punches were evident enough to know that Diaz wasn’t liking what he was watching. And it wasn’t just because Nate Diaz was losing the fight, but the very idea that his little brother had to fight that brother Nick Diaz.
“Watching my brother fight was hard. That was really hard for me to do. I didn’t expect it to be like that. I wasn’t really ready to leave what I was doing at the time, and it just kind of, really kind of made me look at things differently after that. I am a lot different now than I was before I saw that fight.”
“Just you know, timing. It was the wrong time for me to be in there watching that and being all up in the mix like that real quick, you know. Having to be taken back, I wouldn’t even have gone, I would have stayed away and focused on myself, but I didn’t know any better.”
Nick Diaz saw fighting as a source of livelihood. Diaz would go inside the cage, come back home with a paycheck, and that was it. At no point has Nick Diaz shown love and admiration to the sport of fighting, and while he loves the sport of mixed martial arts, and teaches young kids in his dojo, it’s something that Nick Diaz says he had to do, and not wanted to do.
Having thought that the fight life is behind him, Nick Diaz says he can’t really stay away from fighting. “All the people around me and all the money and the sponsors, they won’t let me get away from fighting. There’s things I could do, but that’s not gonna work out. I might as well just go and take my punches. It’s just what I do. I tried to get away from it, but really it’s just inevitable.” Diaz says.