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Jake Shields says Nick Diaz ‘looks far better than he did’ in last UFC fight, expects 2023 return

UFC 279 Ceremonial Weigh-in Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Don’t be surprised if there’s a Diaz sighting in the UFC in 2023.

That’s according to Jake Shields, a longtime member of the Skrap Pack and teammate of the Diaz brothers. While Nate Diaz may have parted ways with the UFC earlier this year, older brother Nick Diaz remains under UFC contract, having been sidelined since his third-round TKO loss to Robbie Lawler in September 2021. But Shields expects that change soon.

“I think so,” Shields told Inside Fighting this past week when asked about Diaz fighting in 2023. “He’s looking a lot better, training again. I think we’re going to see Nick back.”

Shields added on Twitter: “Nick now looks far better than he did when he fought Robbie.”

Diaz (26-10, 1 NC) returned to action at UFC 266 after a six-year layoff and lost a bizarre showing that saw him refuse to stand after being dropped by Lawler in the third round. Diaz’s coach Cesar Gracie claimed in August that the 39-year-old veteran entered the bout with two ruptured disks in his neck and “had to pretty much take that fight” because of financial issues. Gracie said Diaz had numbness in his hands and was unable to properly train, but has since addressed his neck issues and is returning back to his old self.

“He got an operation and he put the titanium discs in his neck, so he’s feeling great from that right now,” Gracie told Submission Radio in August.

“It’s like we’re getting the old Nick back, which is really good. So, now that that’s happened, we’re waiting for the doctors. He’s got another appointment I think [in September]. And then he should be cleared to start his hard training again. Because right now he can only run and hit the pads and everything. But he definitely wants to fight. And the UFC, I’ve been in contact with them, they just actually called me the other day asking about Nick, and there’s some pretty cool fight options that are in front of us.”

A former Strikeforce welterweight champion, Diaz holds notable wins over B.J. Penn, Frank Shamrock, Paul Daley, Takanori Gomi, Lawler, and more.

Poll

Do you want to see Nick Diaz back again in 2023?

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  • 61%
    Yes
    (727 votes)
  • 38%
    No, he should retire
    (453 votes)
1180 votes total Vote Now

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