The buzz for a title unification bout between UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre and Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz is definitely building. Outside of Osama Bin Laden, it’s all anyone seems to be talking about today in the MMA community. Not everyone is crazy about the idea, but if you ask me and lot of others it’s the fight that makes the most sense right now for Georges St. Pierre, Nick Diaz and the UFC.
Jason Probst explained on Sherdog this morning exactly why Nick Diaz is the perfect opponent for GSP:
• Diaz is never going to be more red-hot. After dispatching Paul Daley April, Diaz’s stock is at an all-time high. The time to put him in against GSP is now. Are you going to wait for him to make a defense against, say, Tyron Woodley, or some other wrestler that might give Diaz’s stock a hit with a boring fight or even a loss? Diaz is perfect, right now, and GSP is badly in need of a viable challenger.
• Diaz has the right style to bring excitement. Let’s face it — nobody in MMA is going to outwrestle St. Pierre, not at 170 pounds. Thus far, in his second reign as champion, GSP has picked apart challengers coming in on the wings of a dream: that they would be able to plant him on the mat, backed up by modest striking. Josh Koscheck, the best banger of the bunch, never landed more than a glancing blow or two. GSP manipulates distance and angles masterfully. Diaz violates all that and would force confrontations. His high-volume style would, for once, possibly take the play away from GSP on the feet and force him into exchanges or to shoot for takedowns. Diaz’s defensive guard and incredible resilience would serve him well here. He might get wrestled and controlled positionally, but at the beginning of each round, he would be right back up pressing and pushing ahead, tossing punches and cusses and scowls. Diaz is as durable as anyone in the game, and he never quits. He would either force GSP to beat him down or risk another five-round snoozer, at which point public consensus would be well-justified to pack GSP’s bags for 185.
• Diaz sells — something the welterweight title definitely needs. GSP has summarily scuttled the marketability of all his top contenders. It would be a difficult proposition to sell rematches against Fitch or Penn; ironically, both were injured and their rematch will not happen, which clears the welterweight title road for the time being. Alves is only slightly more marketable because he can bang, but he has a tough assignment in Rick Story at UFC 130. No guarantee there. It is getting to the point where any GSP defense against anyone not named Nick Diaz would have to be paired with another title bout — like UFC 129 — to make it viable.
I would add that GSP really needs an opponent that will get fans excited about seeing him fight again, because right now, I don’t think too many people clamoring to see GSP back in the Octagon like they are for other champs such as Jon Jones and Cain Velasquez. Deserving or not, GSP’s stock is slowly but surely falling. He’s been dominant ever since he lost to Matt Serra, but he’s becoming more and more boring to watch with each passing fight. It’s not all his fault, because it does take two to tango, but he fights safe and there’s not any denying that. Nick Diaz is the exact opposite, both inside and outside of the cage. Whether you love or hate either of them, that’s a must see fight, and you can’t say that about GSP vs. anyone else in the welterweight division right now.
So what’s the possibility it will happen given they are technically fighting for two different promotions right now? Well, Dana White said they can basically do whatever they want over the weekend, although there are Showtime contracts to consider. At the very least, he seems open to working on it. Georges St. Pierre’s lead trainer Firas Zahabi told Ariel Helwani today that he thinks the fight is a possibility as well.
“We haven’t sat down to talk about (what’s next),” Zahabi told Helwani. “I’m sure the UFC is going to want Nick Diaz. He deserves a shot. He’s put on great performances and his last fight was extremely exciting.”
“If Georges went up (to 185) right now, he wouldn’t have cleaned out the division because there’s still Nick Diaz there,” Zahabi said. “He’s champion, so you can’t say he doesn’t deserve a shot. I can’t confirm anything, but I see it as a possibility. They have two champions. It’s always exciting to see two champions go at it. He has a great style. He has beautiful boxing, great jiu-jitsu, and it’s very similar to his brother. It’s not easy to fight a tall, lanky guy like that. And he’s always very busy. It’s a whole different style than Jake.”
Cesar Gracie also thinks the fight makes sense, but reading between the lines, it sounds like they want big money to do it. From an interview with the Verbal Submission radio show, transcribed via Fight Opinion:
“I don’t know how bad is GSP’s eye, is he going to take six months off? And then why couldn’t Nick box and then go fight GSP, for example, that kind of scenario. Now, if the eye if not a really big problem and they want the next fight for GSP five months from now to be Nick Diaz, I mean obviously Nick would be, uh… he would be delaying quite a contract, a money-making contract in boxing so how would that, is he going to give up that all that money… I mean there’s so many questions right now and really the only (people) that has the answers to it are, you know, Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta, so I’m very much looking forward to meeting with those guys. Lorenzo’s a guy that I truly like the guy and Dana is a good guy, too, you know, a good businessman and we’re going to tell him our concerns and hopefully they have some answers for us and we’re waiting just like you guys.”
And last but not least, there’s Nick Diaz. He tells GroundandPound.de in the video interview below that he wants the fight.
“They should let me get in there with that guy. They had him in there with my partner and look what happened to him. What do you think is going to happen if you put him in there with me?”
Your tell me: GSP vs. Diaz? Or GSP vs. Silva?
By the way, Nick’s brother, Nate is heading back to the lightweight division following his loss to Rory MacDonald.