The rematch seventeen years in the making between Nick Diaz and Robbie Lawler at UFC 266 this weekend has moved from welterweight to middleweight.
News of the match-up moving to 185-pounds was first reported by Ariel Helwani via Substack. Helwani announced that the bout was currently being moved to 185-pounds, though no reason was given as to why the sudden change of weight classes. As of this writing, the fight will remain a 5-round non-title fight though Lawler has not confirmed the new weight agreement.
This will be the first fight for Diaz since competing in 2015. The cult-favorite last stepped into the Octagon against the legend Anderson Silva. While he lost a unanimous decision victory, the fight was later overturned after “The Spider” tested positive for banned substances.
Diaz and Lawler first met in 2004 at UFC 47: It’s On! The Stockton, CA, native face planted Lawler in the second round with punches in their first encounter. At the time, Lawler was favored and many were under the impression that Diaz lacked stopping power.
For a while, it seemed as though a return for the elder Diaz brother was out of the cards as he always seemed at odds with UFC president Dana White. Now it appears they have settled their differences and Diaz will make his MMA return after more than five years away from the sport. Outside of competition, the Diaz brothers are admired for staying in shape and performing in triathlons and other cardio-heavy athletic competitions.
Lawler has not had his hand raised inside the cage since fighting Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in 2017. Despite being on a 4-fight losing streak, the 39-year old has fought the who’s who at welterweight. After being matched up with Rafael dos Anjos, Ben Askren, and Colby Covington it seemed apparent that Lawler’s output was beginning to wane. Even so, in 2021, “Ruthless” remains one of the most imposing fighters on the planet and will look to restore fear at UFC 266.
Who do you think benefits most from the move to 185-pounds?