With today being February 9, or 2/09 if you will,  it is only fitting that the #FlashbackFight of the week goes to a then 20-year-old Nick Diaz AKA Mr. 209 (his native Stockton’s area code) versus a young “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler. The world got a preview of what to come for many years from these two rising stars in the welterweight division on the undercard of the event headlined by Chuck Liddell against Tito Ortiz.

First off, Nick Diaz is one of my favorite fighters ever. His relentless pace, ability to win standing or on the ground, and rough around the edges persona have captivated millions as well based on the cult-like following the Diaz brothers have. Nick and his younger brother Nate have been called the “bad boys of MMA” for years now and his antics in the Lawler fight certainly furthered that notion without a doubt.

Diaz got into Lawler’s head from the second he walked into the octagon. He paced like a caged lion and then shot right at him to start the fight. Diaz verbally harassed Lawler from the outset of the contest and it was very apparent Diaz’s antics had Lawler bothered. Below is a video that comes from Joe Rogan’s podcast where he gives his cage-side analysis.

Lawler was a heavy favorite, especially with the stand up game, but Diaz set out to prove that he could box with the best of the best. As their careers blossomed from then until now, Diaz is one of the most respected boxers in MMA on top of being a black belt in Gracie Jiu Jitsu.

In the first round, both fighters fed each other a heavy helping of knuckle sandwiches with the underdog Diaz winning the round. Mid-way through the round, referee Steve Mazzagatti can be heard telling Diaz to cut out the smack talk, but based on the high hands taunts, the facial expressions, and most notably the “Stockton Slap”, Diaz was having none of that from Mazzagatti.

Though Lawler landed some bombs and hurt Diaz a couple times, he got drug into deep water by the pace that Diaz put on him with his heavy volume striking game. Diaz and Lawler stood toe-to-toe exchanging at the center of the octagon in the second round. Lawler left himself open and Diaz capitalized with a big right hook, sending Lawler crashing to the canvas.

While Lawler had already established himself as a legitimate fighter in the welterweight division, this was one of the early fights that sprung Diaz into the limelight.

-Jordan Kurtz is a founding member of Comments From The Peanut Gallery and can be followed on Instagram at @CommentsFromThePeanutGallery