Despite more than six years out of action, Nick Diaz still managed to impress in his return to the octagon when he faced Robbie Lawler at UFC 266 in September.
While Diaz ultimately fell by third-round TKO, UFC president Dana White still praised the former title challenger for the skills he displayed, especially after such an incredibly long layoff.
That said, White saw enough to know that he really doesn’t want to see Diaz compete again.
“Very impressed [by Nick Diaz],” White told ESPN when addressing Diaz’s return. “I’ve had conversations with [Robbie] Lawler, too, who had nothing but respect for him and how he fought.
“But regardless of how good he looked and what he did after such a huge layoff, I don’t think Nick should fight.”
According to White, the reason why he hopes Diaz decides not to fight again comes down to the way he expressed intense turmoil over a love-hate relationship he’s had with combat sports for so many years.
At one point while speaking to the media ahead of the event, Diaz said rather bluntly “I don’t know why I’m doing this” as he addressed his upcoming fight with Lawler.
Just after the event ended, White complimented Diaz on his performance but that didn’t necessarily mean he wanted to see him fight again.
White says it really came down to the demeanor Diaz carried all week long as he lamented about the turmoil he feels whenever fighting along with a general love-hate relationship with combat sports.
“It’s not that I was in favor of [him fighting again] it but listen, he’s a grown man and can do whatever he wants to do,” White explained. “I just don’t think Nick does it because he loves it. I think he does it because he has to do it. People always ask me what’s the key to success? It’s all about being happy and doing what you love.
“When I always talk about the people who sit in bumper to bumper traffic and go to a job they hate, that’s what I feel like when Nick Diaz is getting ready for a fight. He’s in bumper to bumper traffic going to a job that he doesn’t love at all.”
While he hopes that Diaz has made his last walk to the octagon, White still feels like the 38-year-old veteran made an admirable account for himself against Lawler, even if he didn’t walk away with the win.
“For a guy who’s been off as long as he has, nothing but respect for Nick,” White said.
It remains to be seen if Diaz will fight again or ride off into the sunset after this last fight with Lawler in September.