Former two-weight UFC champion, Conor McGregor appears to welcome the incoming Octagon comeback of former welterweight title challenger, Nick Diaz this weekend at UFC 266 — urging journalist, Ariel Helwani to “relax” his concern, claiming Diaz “loves” to fight.
McGregor, who last featured professionally at UFC 264 in July, is still recovering and rehabbing surgery to address a fractured left tibia suffered in his first round doctor’s stoppage TKO loss to former interim lightweight champion, Dustin Poirier.
Making his anticipated return to the sport for the first time since January 2015 this weekend, former WEC and Strikeforce welterweight kingpin, Diaz features against veteran former UFC welterweight titleholder, Robbie Lawler in a rematch of their April 2004 matchup.
Ahead of the bout, many have expressed their concerns surrounding Diaz’s return to the sport, with the Stockton favorite revealing in a pre-fight interview with ESPN MMA reporter, Brett Okamoto that he should not be fighting Lawler again, in fact, he maintains he should not be fighting at all, claiming whoever set up the fight was an “idiot“.
Expressing his concern with Diaz’s reasoning for scoring a first Octagon walk in six and a half years, Helwani claimed the former deserved better.
“As I’ve been openly wondering, is Nick (Diaz) fighting because he wants to or because he has to?” Helwani tweeted. “If we were all being honest, we all know. He hasn’t liked fighting for years. He deserves better than all of this, and I hope he can find peace and be safe. It all feels weird.“
Diaz’s last professional victory came all the way back at the tail end of 2011 where he managed a unanimous decision win over former two-weight champion, B.J. Penn in his return to the UFC.
At UFC 183, Diaz headlined against former middleweight champion, Anderson Silva in a non-title bout, with the bout eventually ruled an official ‘No Contest”
According to Crumlin native, McGregor, however, Helwani’s cause for concern has been brushed aside, with the 33-year-old wishing both Diaz and Lawler well, maintaining the former “loves” fighting still.
“@arielhelwani Relax, it’s a scrap, he (Nick Diaz) loves it,” Conor McGregor tweeted. “Great to see Nick back. And Robbie (Lawler). It is a perfect match! I pray for both a solid performance, a great fight, and safe and healthy the next morning with all the beautiful memories and experiences this mad buzz gives them/us/me. God bless.“