Nearly a year after Nick Diaz made his anticlimactic return to the Octagon at UFC 266, coach Cesar Gracie has not only broken silence over the veteran’s loss to Robbie Lawler, but also claimed that Diaz was physically jeopardized before the fight.
Cesar Gracic says Nick Diaz suffered two ruptured disks in his neck before fighting Lawler
After a six year hiatus, Nick Diaz made his comeback to the UFC on 25th September last year, when he faced his fellow veteran Robbie Lawler- a rematch of their first encounter which dates back to 2004.
The middleweight bout saw Lawler avenging his loss from seventeen years back, as he dropped Diaz 44 seconds into the third round, who refused to get up and a TKO victory was awarded to Lawler.
While it was evident that the former welterweight title challenger was “rusty” on his return, almost a year after the fight, coach Cesar Gracie has come up with an explanation.
While speaking to Submission Radio, Gracie claimed that Diaz had gone into the fight with two ruptured disks in his neck, which severely impacted his performance in the cage and revealed that it was also the reason why he fought at 185 instead of 170.
“So Nick, he went into that fight and his neck was pretty messed up,” said Gracie, “Robbie’s a great, tough fighter and everything. And, Nick was doing great. And then you kind of see Nick kind of just kind of fading as the fight wore on. So, Nick had an operation very recently here seven weeks ago. So, two of the discs had ruptured in his neck before the fight. So, he was having numbness of the hands. That’s why he didn’t make 170. He fought at 185, is cause it was impossible to train. He just didn’t have any strength. He didn’t have what you’re used to, the Nick Diaz, you know, he didn’t have it.”
Despite the huge setback from last year, Gracie stated that Diaz will be fight-ready from next month, and is already receiving options for his next UFC fight.
“So, we finally were able to go and he got an operation and he put the titanium discs in his neck. So, he’s feeling great from that right now. And it’s like we’re getting the old Nick back, which is really good. So, now that that’s happened, we’re waiting for the doctors. He’s got another appointment I think next month. And then he should be cleared to start his hard training again. Because right now he can only run and hit the pads and everything. But he definitely wants to fight.”
“And the UFC, I’ve been in contact with them, they just actually called me the other day asking about Nick, and there’s some pretty cool fight options that are in front of us,” he added. [H/T MMA Junkie]
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