Las Vegas, NV — Nick Diaz turned heads in a recent interview with ESPN ahead of his return to the cage at UFC 266. But he’s not alone in his sentiment towards mixed martial arts — with former UFC interim lightweight champ Dustin Poirier saying he feels much the same way.
While Diaz is known for sparking controversy and has done so numerous times throughout his lengthy MMA career, an older, more sombre Nick Diaz spoke to ESPN about his resentment towards a sport that has taken so much, and given little back.
He also admitted to having doubts heading into his fight with Robbie Lawler. It’s a rematch 17 years in the making, after Diaz knocked out “Ruthless” at UFC 47.
“Do I feel confident? I never do. I never have,” Diaz told the outlet. “I always feel like I’m going to get trashed out there. Every fight I’ve ever done. ‘How do you feel against Robbie Lawler?’ I feel like I’m going to get the sh*t beat out of me. And even when I win, I get beat up worse.”
So why fight? Because Diaz can’t seem to escape it. “All the people around me and all the money and the sponsors, they won’t let me get away from fighting,” Diaz said. “There’s things I could do, but that’s not gonna work out. I might as well just go and take my punches. … I don’t want to look back and say, ‘Why did I not just do it?’ I don’t feel great. I feel great to fight. I don’t feel great about everything [else].”
In attendance at the UFC Hall of Fame ceremony on Thursday night, Poirier said he felt the same.
“I watched the interview this morning, and I feel the same way about a lot things Nick said. He articulates a lot of feelings fighters have,” stated Poirier. “I can relate, I don’t know if everybody can, but a lot of things he says, I know exactly what he means.”
With that having been said, Poirier added that “I’m happy to see him fight again, but Robbie’s a good friend of mine. I’ve been working with Robbie, I’ve known Robbie for a while now. But I’m happy to see one of the legends like Nick back. It’s been a long layoff, we’ll see what happens.”