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Jorge Masvidal doesn’t know ‘how much of a reality’ peak-shape Nick Diaz is anymore: ‘I want to see him not get hurt’

Although they may not be friends, Jorge Masvidal still has known Nick Diaz for years. The two fan-favorites competed together under the same umbrella in Strikeforce in 2010-11 and Masvidal waged war against the Diaz clan at UFC 244 when he faced off against Nick’s younger brother, Nate Diaz, with the UFC’s Baddest Motherf*cker belt on the line.

Masvidal has also been linked to potential fights against the elder Diaz in recent years and was even the subject of a callout by Diaz in late 2019. That, of course, was before Diaz finally ended his six-year hiatus from MMA with a comeback fight against Robbie Lawler at UFC 266, which the Stockton native lost when he essentially waved off his own fight after being dropped in the third round. The performance — and its unusual ending — left some observers concerned about Diaz’s motivations and his future in the sport.

When asked for his thoughts on what he saw from his fellow Strikeforce veteran, Masvidal admitted that he wasn’t exactly encouraged by the scenes from UFC 266.

“[It was] not the Nick Diaz that I’m accustomed to, obviously,” Masvidal said recently on The MMA Hour. “I was fighting alongside Nick when he was in Strikeforce and I was in Strikeforce, so I knew a very different Nick Diaz. I don’t want to see the guy get hurt, man.

“I would love to see him in peak shape, go in there and f*ck some people up, but I don’t know how much of a reality that is now after seeing his last performance. I want to see him not get hurt. And if he does go back in there, I want to see him as close as we can to his old self. I don’t think his last performance, we got to see that.”

Diaz’s saga at UFC 266 was an odd one even before fight night. He spent the majority of fight week openly questioning why he was returning to fight Lawler and reiterated as much post-fight when he questioned how the fight got set up and called the situation a “bum rap.”

Diaz and Masvidal both began their MMA careers in the early 2000s and are two of the few remaining fighters of their generation still competing in the UFC, so in some ways Masvidal can relate to Diaz’s journey through the sport. And though he isn’t sure what motivated Diaz’s return at UFC 266, Masvidal vowed to never let himself reach a point where people are asking similar questions about his own motivations regarding his career.

“I don’t know what Nick Diaz is going through. I don’t know [if he’s dealing with the] IRS. I don’t what it is, why he was fighting,” Masvidal said.

“But as far as I go, I think I’ve said it before in the gym. When I go to the gym, myself, and the younger generations, and I can no longer hang with them and compete with them and do well — and not just well one day out of the week, but do well every time I step on the mat like I do right now — then I know it’s time for me to hang it up. Nobody’s going to come telling me. Thank goodness, on a financial level, I never have to fight again. If I continue to fight now or not, I’m good financially, so I don’t see myself in those predicaments where I’m going to come back to fight for money. I’ll come back to fight because I love it, it’s my DNA.

“I love doing this more than anything I’ve done in this world. But as far as for financial situations and stuff, I won’t be back in here. I worked too hard for this, I put too much money aside a long time ago, so I don’t have to worry about that. The day that I walk away from it, it’s because I feel that I no longer can compete at that level. I’m not going to be nobody’s footstool. I’m not going to hold nobody’s jock strap either. No way.”