A rundown of post-fight news and notes coming out of Strikeforce “Diaz vs. Daley”…
— Despite three thrilling finishes and an bloody war, Zuffa and Strikeforce officials decided not to implement the UFC’s fight night bonus structure at last night’s event. It’s disappointing because if there were ever a group of fighters that deserved such bonuses, it was the group that fought last night. Hopefully they got a little extra behind the curtain because they certainly deserved it.
— Nick Diaz came back from the jaws of defeat to finish off Paul Daley only moments later in one of the most exciting rounds in recent history. Midway through the first, Daley cracked Diaz on the temple with a left hook that left Diaz face flat on the canvas. Most fighters would have recognized the danger they were in. Not Nick Diaz. He talked about it like it was no big deal at the post-fight press conference.
“I’m probably better off down there anyways than standing up when I’m knocked off balance like that, until I get my footing. If I go down, I go down. What are you going to do down there? He couldn’t hit me once I was down there.”
The promoters were certainly happy with the main event. Dana White was so impressed, he openly gave Paul Daley respect on Twitter.
I give him all the respect in the world for that fight. They went to war!
Scott Coker was pleased as well. He called it “electric.”
“It reminded me of those electric fights I watched growing up like Hagler-Hearns. It had that electricity.”
That it did. While the appropriate course of action would be to match Diaz up with UFC champion Georges St. Pierre (should he beat Jake Shields at UFC 129), there won’t be any UFC champion vs. Strikeforce champion fights in the immediate future. Instead, it looks like Tyron Woodley is next in line for Nick Diaz. Scott Coker hinted at the match-up following the event and Woodley was seen all weekend wearing a t-shirt that said “I Got Next!”
— Paul Daley didn’t talk to reporters following the loss, but he did turn to Facebook to give his thoughts on the fight. He thought the stoppage was early, but it doesn’t sound like he’s going to make a big stink out of it.
Is in good health. Some u win, some u lose. A little frustrating, I made mistakes I told myself I wouldn’t do. A little to rushed. Think the stoppage was early, especially with so little time left in the round. Now some timw off, a few holidays and some downtime. See what’s next. Team Semtex all day. Love u all….still, including the HATERS. Mwah
I won’t argue that it was a questionable stoppage, but I don’t think it was necessarily a bad one either. Daley wasn’t out, but he was taking unanswered shots as the final seconds ticked down. I thought the stoppage was justified, but of course the selfish fan in me would have loved to see round two.
— Immediately after he crushed Crusher Kawajiri, Gilbert Melendez got on the mic and declared himself the number one lightweight in the world. He explained why at the post-fight press conference.
“I know I’m not the UFC champion, but I’ve been around this sport a lot longer than Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard. If you look at the past and what I’ve accomplished, I’ve accomplished more… Not to take anything away from those guys. They’re great fighters. I’m just trying represent my organization and my team… I think I put a lot of pressure on myself, not only the buyout, but I’ve been campaigning that I’m the No. 1 fighter in the world, and it puts the pressure on me to make a statement.”
Melendez made a statement alright. And with Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta watching from the cage side, the two people he needed to impress the most undoubtedly took notice. Neither were present at the pres conference to give their thoughts, but Scott Coker was there to share his. He reiterated that it won’t happen yet, but he’d love to see Melendez get the opportunity to prove he’s the best lightweight in the world.
“Personally, for myself, as a fan, I would love to see Gilbert fighting Frankie (Edgar) or Alistair Overeem fighting Cain Velasquez or Nick fighting [Georges St-Pierre], ‘Jacare’ (Souza) fighting Anderson Silva. There are some amazing fights out there… To me, we have a great relationship with Showtime, and I think the fighters you see on Showtime will continue to fight on Showtime, but at some point, I think that, uh, let’s get it on.”
The good news is Coker says there are no contractual or legal obstacles standing in the way of these fights happening.
“I think, you know what? Let the Strikeforce guys fight the UFC guys. I’d love to see it. To me, Alistair Overeem versus Cain Velasquez? Let’s do it. Or Fedor fighting Brock Lesnar. …There’s nothing to say these guys can’t fight each other.”
“I love Strikeforce and I want to see it continue for many years, and I’m going to work my ass off to make sure it’s profitable… This roster that we’ve built at Strikeforce is unbelievable, and everybody knows that. We’re going to continue to put these great fights on, and we have the fighters to do that. But to me, why can’t you build the AFC and the NFC and let’s do a Super Bowl fight? That’s what I’d like to see.”
It appears to only be a question of if, how and when Zuffa wants to do it.
— Gegard Mousasi vs. Keith Jardine ended in a disappointing draw due to a point deduction from an illegal upkick Mousasi nailed Jardine with in the first round. Mousasi apologized for the infraction at the post-fight press conference.
“I didn’t do it deliberately. In Japan it’s allowed. It wasn’t allowed tonight, so the ruling was correct, but I didn’t do it deliberately. I apologize for that.”
Mousasi added that he wouldn’t argue the decision.
“You can always argue about decisions, but I think the decision was good. He took it on short notice, not to take away from him. I have friends that know him. Everybody says he’s a great guy. He put on a great performance.”
Jardine showed a ton of heart in the fight. He got beat up for three rounds, but wasn’t pleased that he technically didn’t lose.
“There’s no such thing as a moral victory. Coming into this fight, there were a lot of people saying, ‘This is a good position for you. You’ve got nothing to lose.’ But anybody that says you’ve got nothing to lose in a fight has really never fought before. It sucks.”
I’m not sure a rematch is really necessary, but Jardine did come in on very short notice, so I wouldn’t argue it either. Regardless of what I think though, Scott Coker thinks a rematch is the direction they’ll eventually go.
“That’s something we’ll definitely go back and talk to the camps and talk to Lorenzo and the group, and we’ll see what makes sense. Personally, I think [a rematch] will probably happen. When? Who knows.”
I’m sure Jardine’s camp will welcome the opportunity assuming it comes with a full training camp. His trainer Mike Winklejohn blamed Jardine’s performance on the short notice.
— Where the draw leaves the Strikeforce light heavyweight title picture is anybody’s guess, however there doesn’t appear to be any rush to figure out it because the champ is probably going to have a major distraction in the meantime. Scott Coker confirmed reports that a fight between Dan Henderson and Fedor Emelianenko is in the works for sometime this summer. Word was both were penciled in for Strikeforce’s July event, but Coker said it could happen later in the summer. Apparently, there are still details to work out such as weight.
“The date, I would say, is probably late summer. Some things are still being negotiated… We asked Fedor if he’d come down to 205 [pounds], and that didn’t come to a good result. So, you know, we’re going to keep pushing and hopefully have something to announce in the next two weeks or so. Right now, the fight’s not made yet. Sometimes it’s the little things – and I don’t want to get into the contract negotiations – but it’s the little things where somebody wants this, somebody wants that.”
The strange part is M-1 reportedly wants the fight at a 215-220 pound catchweight while Hendo wants to do it in the heavyweight division, meaning there would be no weight restrictions for either fighter (besides the 265 limit which neither is anywhere close to). Kind of odd considering they’re both asking for what you would expect the other to want, but that at least makes it easy to sort out.
If it does happen, it will be a Strikeforce-M-1 Global co-promoted event just like before.
— Submitting Lyle Beerbohm in lightening quick fashion apparently renewed Shinya Aoki’s fighting spirit. After a brief period of questioning his future in the sport, Aoki declared after the event that he would continue to put his full efforts into MMA. It’s unclear if and when he’ll fight for Strikeforce again (this was his second fight on a two-fight contract), but he does plan to return to action next month at a possible DREAM event.