With Nick Diaz recently vacating his Strikeforce welterweight title to challenge Georges St. Pierre for the UFC welterweight title, the obvious questions are who’s next and when. Well, according to Scott Coker, the answer is no one anytime soon.
“Right now, there are no other fighters that are going to go over there,” Coker said. “We expect [Gilbert Melendez] to continue fighting in Strikeforce and getting ready for a fight in the fall.
“Personally, I think all these guys should fight each other. But where and when, if that happens, it will be down the line. We’re going to keep everything separate for right now.”
As much as Gilbert Melendez wants to move over to the UFC, Coker explained to MMA Junkie that the only reason Diaz was able to do it was because of the unique provision in his contract that allowed him to box.
“When Nick was working his way over to the UFC, we had talks with Cesar,” Coker said. “It was quite a process. That was a very unique situation because of the boxing allowance – that we allowed him to box. That’s how it ended up working out the way it did.
“The idea was to keep him in MMA, and Nick used that as a little chip. … Gilbert doesn’t have a boxing provision in his agreement.”
Unfortunately for Melendez, that leaves him no choice but to stay in Strikeforce and defend his lightweight title. Jorge Masvidal is believed to be his next challenger, but that fight hasn’t been signed yet. All Coker could say is that Melendez will fight in the fall, but he can’t announce the match-up until it’s signed.
As for the welterweight title Nick Diaz left behind, it’s still unclear who will fight for it. Coker says that they’re “keeping their eye on” welterweight top contenders Paul Daley and Tyron Woodley who meet later this month, but the actual title fight won’t happen until later this year which implies that only the winner would be involved. As for the other title contender, Coker teased that they’re about to sign someone who fits the bill.
“We’re about to sign another fighter that until it’s done I don’t want to say who it is,” Coker told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “It’s possible (the new fighter could immediately fight for a title). Maybe we’ll give him one fight, and we’ll see what happens. But I definitely think the experience will speak for itself.”
Could Coker be talking about Nate Marquardt? I don’t know, but Dana didn’t rule it out when someone asked him about Marquardt going to Strikeforce. I’m struggling to think of who else it could be.