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UFC 47 Event Diaz vs. Lawler
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What UFC 266 Fighters Were Doing The First Time Nick Diaz And Robbie Lawler Fought

We Asked A Few Fighters On UFC 266 To Reflect On What They Were Up To Circa UFC 47

When Nick Diaz and Robbie Lawler walk to the Octagon for a five-round fight at UFC 266, it'll be a rematch more than 17 years in the making. At UFC 47, Diaz knocked out Lawler in the first round, and in the more than 6,000 days between fights, the two have gone on to become legends in the sport. It's a fight many have wanted to run back for a long time, and it goes down in T-Mobile Arena. 

With that in mind, we asked a handful of fighters what they were doing the last time Diaz and Lawler fought:

Alexander Volkanovski:

“Man, I was young. I was definitely young. I was watching that on Blockbuster. I was a little fat kid watching Blockbuster, watching fights on Blockbuster probably. The only way I could watch these fights in Australia was through a little, tiny section in Blockbuster. This was on a DVD. It was not on TV, not even talked about back home, but the sport has grown so much because of guys like them. Both of them, Robbie Lawler and the Diaz brothers – all of them. They’ve done so much for the sport, and it’s grown so much, and for them to still be able to compete now is just incredible. Here I am like, I’m 32, and I’m like, ‘Hopefully I got a few more years in me,’ and you look at them and you’re like, ‘You know what? I’m known for my cardio just like Nick is. Maybe I can just ride this out til I’m 40.’ I love this sport, so the longer I’m in it, the better. Not like there’s a pretty face I need to worry about, but I want to look after the brain.”

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Brian Ortega:

“I was barely starting jiu jitsu. I barely signed up to jiu jitsu (in) 2004. That’s crazy. Like a freaky little rug rat. I was 13 years old signing up to do jiu jitsu. I had no idea what it was. I don’t think I watched the UFC at the time. I watched Royce Gracie fight, and that’s how I got into the academy, but this is crazy. It’s dope to be – it’s different. Perspective, right? You were a kid, and they were the s**t, right? And it’s like, ‘Hey, we’re on the same card now. We’re like the s**t together, and I’m sharing part of this history with you guys because I’m fighting the same night. I’m going to walk past you in the locker room while you’re warming up. I’m going to see you guys in the heat of the moment before you fight.’ Not too many people can say that. You watch them when they fight, but behind the scenes when they’re warming up or their stress modes or when they’re screaming to hype themselves up, you get to see it, and I get to see it with people that I actually am fans up, so it’s dope. I fought with Robbie on a couple cards. I think my debut he was there as well, maybe. I know Robbie was there on a couple cards. Never Nick. This is dope, and he’s bringing his fans and my fans. It’s dope.”


Fighter Timeline: Nick Diaz
Fighter Timeline: Nick Diaz

Valentina Shevchenko:

“2004, I already won three world championships. I was already 3-time world champion. First, it was Muay Thai. Second, it was mixed martial arts – Korean version in South Korea. And one more, it was kickboxing in K1. So, 3-time world champion. It was around 16 years old. Something like that. I think it’s amazing because definitely they are both have so much charisma, so much experience in martial arts, and I know people all around the world, they are all fans of them. Definitely half is toward Nick Diaz. Half are toward Robbie Lawler. But, joining all together, they are both fans of mixed martial arts. It’s amazing that after 17 years, they are still in this fight mood, still want to show the best of themselves, and I think it’s kind of an example for everyone that there is no limits. No matter how old are you, no matter what you’re doing in life, if you want to be something, every time, you’re going to be. Once you are a martial artist, you’re going to be a martial artist forever."

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Cynthia Calvillo:

“It was definitely seven years before I even started because I had been training for about 10 years. So, I was 23 when I started, so I was what, 14? I was 14 years old. The last time Robbie Lawler and Nick Diaz fought, I was 14 years old. That means I was a freshman (or) sophomore worrying about who knows what. I don’t even think I was watching fights yet. It’s been a long time if I really think about it. That’s special.”

Robbie Lawler | Fighter Timeline
Robbie Lawler | Fighter Timeline

Merab Dvalishvili:

“I wasn’t even training. I was a bad kid in school. I always have problems, and every time the teachers were calling my parents, ‘Come back. Your kid is crazy.’ I was a bad kid. I always have fights in my school, and right after I started training wrestling and judo, I became a smart kid. But I was very young, and I don’t even watch fights. I don’t know – it was fighting in Georgia, in Japan, we were calling it, ‘Fight without rules.’ That’s really how it was. That’s how I know about this sport, and then at that time, only I can imagine big guys fighting without rules. No time, no limit, and I was such a little guy at that time. Now, it’s crazy. Now, I’m fighting with them. It’s crazy.”

Uros Medic:

“I was playing soccer, probably, outside on the street with the rest of the neighbors. I always liked to play, so I was probably playing. I was outside. I was always an active kid. I didn’t watch it if that’s where this question could go. I didn’t see the fight back then. I did see the fight later on, and I’m excited to be on the same card with the legend(s) not to mention all the champions that are currently active. But, these guys have been around for a very long time, long before I even started fighting, and it’s just – I’m stoked to be around them. This morning, I was playing nunchucks, and I know Nick Diaz does that.”