A major change has reportedly been implemented for UFC 266’s five-round rematch between Nick Diaz and Robbie Lawler. According to a Substack post from Ariel Helwani, the said matchup has been bumped from welterweight to middleweight.
This sudden change is happening four days before fight night, and no specific reasons were given. But during a media scrum after the Contender Series on Tuesday, UFC president Dana White shed some light on the situation.
“Robbie wants to talk to me about this whole thing, so this all happened when I was out of town this weekend,” he told reporters. “I know that the Diaz camp wants the fight at ’85.”
When asked about the sudden change with Team Diaz, White had this theory.
“(Nick) probably doesn’t want to make weight. Every time you come into a Diaz fight, and we forget ‘cause we haven’t seen Nick in a few years.”
To quell some rumors, Diaz’s coach Cesar Gracie took to twitter as well.
@nickdiaz209 was not injured and never ko’ed in sparring. #wolftickets
— Cesar Gracie (@CesarGracieBJJ) September 22, 2021
This isn’t the first time for either man to compete at 185 pounds. Lawler has fought at middleweight a total of 18 times, most notably against the late great Evan Tanner at UFC 50 and against Melvin Manhoef at Strikeforce: Miami. He was also EliteXC’s former middleweight champion.
Diaz, meanwhile, has only fought once at middleweight, when he faced Anderson Silva at UFC 183 six years ago. It was also his last Octagon appearance.
UFC 266 takes place on Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Headlining the card is the featherweight title showdown between champion Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega. Preceding it is the flyweight championship bout between champion Valentina Shevchenko and Lauren Murphy.
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