UFC boss Dana White was blown away by Nick Diaz’s performance in his long-awaited return to the octagon.
The former Strikeforce welterweight champion returned to the cage last weekend at UFC 266 for a rematch with fellow fan favourite Robbie Lawler.
Diaz, 38, showed glimpses of his old self but it was clear his six-year hiatus had a detrimental effect on his skills.
The Stockton slugger ended up suffering a third-round TKO defeat to Ruthless, but White was nonetheless impressed by his display.
He said: “I thought Nick Diaz looked incredible considering he hasn’t fought in five [six] years.
“I don’t know what I was expecting. You never know what to get with the [Diaz] brothers, but let me tell you what — with a five-year layoff, I thought he looked unbelievable.
“And I don’t know if you guys saw Robbie after the fight, but Robbie had freaking knots and lumps all over him. Those two went to war.
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“I thought Robbie was just going to go out there and buzz-saw through him — and that was not the case.”
Like the rest of the world, White is unsure of whether Diaz’s ill-fated rematch with Lawler will be his final outing to the octagon.
When asked about the elder Diaz brother’s next move, he said: “I don’t know.
“I honestly don’t know the answer to that question, but he looked damn good.
“That kid’s got a massive heart, he’s obviously super talented fighter, and yeah, I was impressed.”
I thought Nick Diaz looked incredible considering he hasn’t fought in five years
Dana White on Nick Diaz
Diaz’s post-fight interview did little to answer MMA fans’ lingering questions about his future.
He told UFC commentator Daniel Cormier: “I’m glad I at least put on a show.
“I knew I had it coming, Old Rob. I had a lot of stress coming into this one, especially being off for a long time.
“I don’t have no excuses. I had a long time off and I knew I had it coming.
“I don’t know how this fight got set up.
“I had a switch-up in my whole management set-up and the way the fight got set up.
“It was just a bum wrap. But no excuses. I had it coming. He was in great shape.”
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