The fight was originally scheduled as a welterweight bout, as both men have fought most of their careers at 170 pounds. But on fight week, the Diaz camp requested the bout be contested at 185 pounds, the division in which his previous appearance – six years ago against former middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva – was booked. Diaz infamously tested positive for marijuana following the fight, which he lost via decision, a five-year ban for his third infraction provoked a national outcry that led to its reduction to 18 months. Prior to the Silva bout, Diaz lost decisions against Carlos Condit and Georges St-Pierre in a title shot.
Lawler, a former UFC welterweight champ, has continued to stay busy in the cage, though the pace of his career has slowed as losses have mounted. Lawler comes into the fight on a four-fight skid and has lost five of his past six outings, including back-to-back decision losses to Colby Covington and Neil Magny.