MMA

Nick Diaz returns to UFC, books battle vs. Lawler

Nick Diaz is officially returning to the UFC.

According to his longtime attorney, Ross Goodman, Diaz, 37, signed a bout agreement Tuesday to face Robbie Lawler in UFC 266 on Sept. 25 in Las Vegas.

Lawler has not signed his agreement yet, sources told ESPN, but wants the fight, and is expected to sign his side shortly. The non-title fight is expected to be five rounds, and will be on the main portion of the pay-per-view card.

Diaz (26-9) is the older brother of UFC star Nate Diaz, and a pioneer in mixed martial arts. He is a former Strikeforce welterweight champion, and was involved in big fights with the UFC against BJ Penn, Carlos Condit, Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva from 2011 to 2015.

In September 2015, the Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended Diaz for five years after he tested positive for marijuana metabolites after his fight against Silva in UFC 183. It was his third marijuana-related offense in the state of Nevada, which led to the harsh punishment.

Ironically, the NSAC voted just last week in favor of no longer disciplining combat sports athletes for marijuana use.

Diaz and Lawler have a history that runs back to 2004. They met on the undercard of UFC 47. Diaz won via knockout in a highly entertaining contest.

Lawler (28-15) is a former UFC welterweight champion. He won the 170-pound title by defeating Johny Hendricks in 2014 and defended it twice in instant classics against Rory MacDonald and Carlos Condit. The 39-year-old has dropped his last four bouts, all against very high level competition.

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