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Georges St-Pierre: Nick Diaz was 'rusty' in return, but can come back better if he wants to

USA TODAY Sports Media Group
USA TODAY Sports Media Group
 2021-10-11

Georges St-Pierre doesn’t think Nick Diaz showed his true form at UFC 266.

Diaz (26-10 MMA, 7-7 UFC) returned from layoff of nearly seven years to rematch Robbie Lawler, but was stopped in the third round after he refused to get back up when he was dropped with a check right hook.

It took a while for Diaz to get going in the fight. The superstar from Stockton, Calif., looked noticeably slower than usual. He also requested the matchup be contested at 185 pounds at the start of fight week after signing a bout agreement for 170 pounds.

St-Pierre thinks ring rust was evident in Diaz’s performance and he would like to see his former foe buckle down and figure out what his true priorities are before competing again.

“It was a tough night for him because he came back after six or seven years,” St-Pierre told Yahoo Sports. “It was a long, long time. Nobody can come back as good as they were before after that much time. I’m under the impression that Nick left a lot of money on the table, unfortunately for him, because maybe his best years are behind him. For sure, he was rusty. It’s not to make any excuses, but maybe we haven’t seen the best out of him yet. Maybe he’s going to come back and get better because after seven years – I fought after more than four years. I can tell you, it’s very hard.

“There’s a lot of things that you cannot do in training. You cannot replicate in training what happens in a fight and the only way to get it back is through the experience of real competition. I think he can be better than he was. I think he can come back better if he wants to. There’s a difference between fighters that go to collect a paycheck and fighters that want to come back to become champion. I don’t know what he wants. He needs to figure it out for himself. But whatever he chooses to do, he needs to stick to it and go all in.”

Diaz himself wasn’t too surprised with his performance. Following his loss to Lawler, the 38-year-old said he knew he had it coming and that the way the fight was set up was a “bum rap.” Diaz did, however, say he was glad to be back, but didn’t specify any particular future plans.

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Robbie Lawler def. Nick Diaz at UFC 266: Best photos

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