Jake Shields believes Nick Diaz will fight again in 2023.
Diaz (26-10 MMA, 7-7 UFC) was last seen in action against Robbie Lawler in September 2021 when he returned after more than seven years. He lost the bout by third-round TKO in a strange fight-ending sequence in which a busted-up Diaz refused to stand up after he was dropped by Lawler.
According to Diaz’s coach, Cesar Gracie, Diaz fought Lawler with two ruptured disks in his neck, thus being compromised in the bout. Shields, a longtime training partner of Diaz, says the former Strikeforce champion and UFC title challenger has been in form of late and sees him competing this coming year.
“I think so,” Shields said in an interview with Inside Fighting. “He’s looking a lot better, training again. I think we’re gonna see Nick back.”
Nick now looks far better than he did when he fought Robbie
— Jake Shields (@jakeshieldsajj) December 21, 2022
“Nick now looks far better than he did when he fought Robbie.”
Diaz, 39, hasn’t won a fight since defeating B.J. Penn in 2011 at UFC 137. Although it’s been 15 months since he last fought, Diaz has remained in the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency testing pool and, according to its database, has been tested four times in 2022.
The likes of Daniel Cormier weren’t eager to see Diaz compete again after his performance against Lawler, even though Diaz had suffered just his first stoppage loss due to strikes since Nov. 10, 2007 – a span of nearly 14 years and 15 fights.
Jake Shields says Nick Diaz ‘looking a lot better,’ expects 2023 return to UFC