LAS VEGAS – Nick Diaz has never been one to keep something inside, whether it’s in the cage or talking to the media.
On Wednesday, three days before he returns to the Octagon after more than six years out, Diaz spoke of his “resentment” towards mixed martial arts, wondering aloud why he is even going to fight Robbie Lawler on Saturday at the UFC. 266 and maintained his contempt for fighting.
“All the people around me and all the money and sponsors, they won’t let me walk away from the fights,” Diaz said in an interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. “There are things I could do, but that’s not going to work. Well I must go and take my hits … I don’t want to look back and say, ‘Why didn’t I do it?’ I don’t feel good. I feel good to fight. I don’t feel good about everything. [lo demás]. If I don’t do this, I don’t know how I’m going to feel about myself. “
Diaz, 38, said that during his time away he had plans to open a gym and teach students, and maybe even travel and do seminars. But he said things didn’t work out with the business partners he was dealing with and the plans were “bogus.” That is what led him to fight again.
“It’s what I do,” Diaz said. “I tried to walk away, but it’s actually something unavoidable.”
Diaz has never been shy about talking about his mixed feelings towards MMA. One of the most popular fighters in the UFC, Diaz said he knows fans are excited to see him compete again and that he loves them. But Díaz has said for more than a decade that he doesn’t like fighting and that the time out hasn’t changed his mind. Diaz has not competed since a fight with Anderson Silva at UFC 183 in January 2015.
“I’m going in to win,” Diaz said of Saturday’s fight against Lawler. “Do I feel confident? Never. I never have. I always feel like I’m going to be ripped apart. Every fight I’ve done. ‘How do you feel about Robbie Lawler?’ I feel like they are going to beat me up. And even when I win, they beat me worse. “
Diaz went further and said he shouldn’t even be fighting Lawler in the first place. Diaz already beat Lawler, in 2004, and the Stockton, California native believes he should be challenging Kamaru Usman for his UFC welterweight title. Despite all the doubts, Diaz said he still believes he is the best fighter in the world. Just because he thinks Lawler could beat him doesn’t necessarily mean Diaz thinks he’ll lose.
“I think he would give Usman a beating,” Diaz said. “I’ll have a better chance against Usman than against Lawler, just because I already beat Lawler. It doesn’t make sense for me to go in and fight Robbie Lawler again. I don’t know why I’m doing this. … This shouldn’t happen. Whoever I know. He made up this is an idiot. I don’t know why I’m doing this. I don’t know why this happened. I should be fighting Kamaru Usman, and that’s it. “
Diaz (26-9, 2 NC) was winless in three fights before his six-year absence. His last win was against BJ Penn in 2011. Even so, Diaz remains a favorite among MMA fans. He won 11 bouts in a row at one point, is a former Strikeforce welterweight champion and is known for his style of forward action.
Diaz clearly has doubts about going back to racing, but added that Lawler “doesn’t deserve to get his butt kicked and I know I’m going to beat him up.” Diaz said he believes it is more dangerous now than it was six years ago. But that doesn’t change his relationship with MMA itself.
“I have a lot of resentment towards the sport for taking away so much and not giving anything back,” Diaz said. “This is great. They’re promoting this fight. I wasn’t expecting to be the main event or anything like that.”
Diaz said he’s just being real. He said that all fighters think similar things in fight week, have similar doubts and misgivings. But they don’t air it like him. Diaz said other fighters are “full of sh —” and what if they don’t pretend to be happy during fight week, “they must be crazy.”
“I love helping people and I love being a part of the sport,” Diaz said. “But I don’t love what he’s done to me. Especially in the last seven months, the last two years. So yeah, I have a chance to drag some of this back. So I’m going to give it a try.”
“I feel like this in every fight. I am a dark person headed for a fight. I just despise these people who are happy to get out. [a pelear]”.