I know everybody starts a story about a guy that they are about to criticize with the standard or classic “I respect (insert name here) but…” and go on to grill a guy without showing much in the way of ‘respect’ but I legitimately respect Nick Diaz as a fighter. As Dana White put it he is a “true fighter” and Diaz will fight anyone, anytime and anywhere – without question.
Nick Diaz possesses solid all-around skills with a good boxing game, awesome ju-jitsu and a nasty mean streak that more than a few opponents have felt the wrath of over his career. Diaz, only 28 years old feels like he should be in his late 30s with the amount of experience and fights he has had but is really only hitting his prime fighting years now.
In short, he is a fighter who deserves respect and he had mine until he disrespected a guy who has not only fought whoever Dana White has told him to but a who’s who of elite cage fighters – a list that makes Nick Diaz’s career hit list look rather, well, lame. Maybe Diaz was a bit discombobulated after taking quite a few solid shots from the out of shape BJ Penn when the fight was over and called out GSP.
Rumors circulated that Diaz wasn’t happy about fighting Penn, whom he considered a friend, and was exceptionally angry at St. Pierre. When St. Pierre was injured in training, the fight with Condit fell off the card and White moved Penn-Diaz to the main.
Diaz, though, was angry he was meeting Penn and not St. Pierre. He shouted to St. Pierre from the cage after the bout ended.
“I don’t think Georges was hurt,” Diaz said. “I think he was scared.”
Apparently St. Pierre approached White moments after the fight. The UFC’s ultimate good guy was angry that Diaz continually disrespected him and questioned his injury.
Saying GSP was scared is not only laughable it is borderline ridiculous. Let’s compare the two fighters, their past 5 years of fights, opponents and results and see if Diaz has a case. First, tale of the tape:
|Weight||170 (fight night 185+)||170 (fight night around 180)|
Without question GSP will be the bigger and stronger man on fight night but Diaz will not give up much (if anything) with respect to cardiovascular conditioning. Still, GSP will have a slight reach advantage and will definitely be able to impose his will physically in the clinch, on the ground and against the fence. Diaz is a crafty and smart fighter but has shown a weakness against powerful wrestlers in the past which could be a key component to the matchup.
There have only been three common opponents that have faced both Diaz and St. Pierre – BJ Penn, Karo Parisyan and Sean Sherk. Nick Diaz lost to both Parisyan and Sherk via decision while GSP defeated both rather easily (Sherk via TKO and Parisyan via DEC). Nick Diaz recently defeated a horribly conditioned BJ Penn who managed to hold his own in the first round but was literally out on his feet and dead tired to start the second round – though Diaz could not finish him.
GSP fought BJ Penn twice and after a subpar performance on March 3rd, 2006 where [GSP] won a split-decision he absolutely dominated Penn with a TKO stoppage in January/2010 – the worse loss of Penn’s career.
Diaz lost to another ground and pound specialist when Diego Sanchez defeated him on November 5th, 2005 in a unanimous decision victory for ‘The Nightmare’. The relevance of that fight is the fact St. Pierre is another guy who can dominate the ground game with strong takedowns and ground-and-pound skills.
What about Diaz’s claim that GSP has been scared to fight?
GSP is currently on an impressive nine-fight winning streak since his loss to Matt Serra on April 7th, 2007 and hasn’t even been tested in any of those contests (outside of an accidental eye poke to Jake Shields).
|8/25/2007||Josh Kosheck||Unanimous Decision|
|12/29/2007||Matt Hughes||Submission – Arm bar|
|4/19/2008||Matt Serra||TKO – referee stoppage|
|8/9/2008||Jon Fitch||Unanimous Decision|
|1/31/2009||BJ Penn||TKO –referee stoppage|
|7/11/2009||Thiago Alves||Unanimous Decision|
|3/27/2010||Dan Hardy||Unanimous Decision|
|12/11/2010||Josh Koscheck||Unanimous Decision|
|4/30/2011||Jake Shields||Unanimous Decision|
None of these fights have even been close with most being complete blowouts/shutouts for GSP against a who’s who of MMA elite.
Josh Koscheck has been nearly unbeatable against stellar competition himself but posed no threat at all to GSP (twice). “Kos” has defeated Matt Hughes, Paul Daley, Anthony Johnson, Chris Lytle, Diego Sanchez (who defeated Nick Diaz) and Dustin Hazelett.
Jon Fitch is essentially undefeated in his MMA career outside of one of the worst beat downs of his career at the hands on GSP in August/2008. Fitch, though not the most exciting fighter in the world (a criticism of GSP as well) has been a winner with an overall record of 22-3-1. He also defeated Diego Sanchez (who defeated Nick Diaz).
BJ Penn was actually in great shape for the rematch against GSP for the belt in January/2009 and was totally outclassed and destroyed over 4 brutal rounds. GSP leaned on him, beat him down and made him eat his own words when BJ Penn was forced to “quit”. We don’t need to rehash Penn’s amazing resume and pedigree – he is a fighter’s fighter and a true MMA warrior/legend.
Thiago Alves was the scariest welterweight in the world with highlight reel knockouts and GSP made him look like an inferior fighter in all aspects of MMA (including striking). Prior to his loss to GSP in July/2009 Alves had looked to be one of the top fighters in the UFC with impressive victories over Josh Koscheck, Matt Hughes, Karo Parisyan and Chris Lytle.
Prior to fighting St. Pierre Jake Shields was undefeated since December/2004 (a 15-fight win streak) but was dominated by GSP on their feet for five rounds. An eye-poke forced GSP to fight at a disadvantage for a majority of the fight but he still handily defeated him 4 rounds to 1 in a one-side fight. Shields was unable to take GSP down or mount much in the way of a sustained attack.
Comparatively Nick Diaz is on a ten fight win streak and has not lost since his November 10th, 2007 TKO loss to KJ Noons.
|5/11/2008||Katsuya Inoue||TKO – referee stoppage|
|6/14/2008||Muhsin Corbbrey||TKO – referee stoppage|
|7/26/2008||Thomas Denny||TKO – referee stoppage|
|4/11/2009||Frank Shamrock||TKO – referee stoppage|
|6/6/2009||Scott Smith||Submission – Choke|
|1/30/2010||Marius Zaromskis||TKO – referee stoppage|
|10/09/2010||KJ Noons||Unanimous Decision|
|1/29/2010||Evangelista Santos||Submission – Arm Bar|
|4/9/2011||Paul Daley||TKO – referee stoppage|
|10/29/2011||BJ Penn||Unanimous Decision|
A ten fight winning streak is nothing to joke about especially in MMA and the fact Diaz was able to stop/finish so many of his opponents is a true testament to his fighting spirit (only two decisions in ten fights) and I do not mean to downplay his opponents in any way but that list isn’t exactly filled with elite MMA talent.
I’d venture a guess and say if GSP fought those same 10 fights he would probably have as many stoppages as Diaz. Conversely is Diaz had to go through the past 9 opponents of GSP I am not confident he would even be victorious over Josh Koscheck (pains me to say that), Jon Fitch (awful matchup for him) or Jake Shields for that matter – let alone look as positively dominant as GSP did.
It has to be said that Nick Diaz wasn’t in the UFC at the time due to contractual obligations with Strikeforce/Elite XC so his potential pool of opponents was always going to be weaker. However for him to claim GSP is afraid to fight Diaz, Condit or whoever after looking at the above information shows Diaz is either misinformed or just ignorant to the type of career dominance GSP has managed over the past 5-6 years.
Barring any possible setbacks or complications (which aren’t out of the question given the past couple months) Nick Diaz will have a chance to back up his brash remarks on February 4th, 2012 (Superbowl Weekend) when he gets his long-awaited UFC Welterweight title shot versus incumbent super-champion Georges St. Pierre.
How do Diaz and St. Pierre matchup?
Honestly I think it is an awful matchup for Diaz given St. Pierre’s wrestling acumen and Diaz’s past subpar performance against the strong wrestlers but at the very least it will be an excited lead-up and countdown to what might be the biggest fight in UFC history when the two finally square off in the octagon.
Given their respective resumes and “strength of schedule” over the past 5 years I expect GSP to go in as a relatively big favorite (my guess betting line will be GSP -250). St. Pierre said he respects Diaz’s talent and won’t underestimate him. Dana White said at Saturday’s post-fight news conference that St. Pierre told him Diaz “is the most disrespectful human being I’ve ever met, and I’m going to put the worst beating you’ve ever seen on him in the UFC.”
St. Pierre wouldn’t go nearly so far while speaking to Yahoo! Sports, but he sounded as if he were counting the days until Feb. 4.
“This is a fight I am looking forward to very much, and it’s a fight that I wanted very badly,” he said. “This is a very important fight to me personally. I am glad that the UFC did it for us.”
Nick Diaz will give St. Pierre a first-rate challenge and GSP will definitely not go unscathed given Diaz’s ‘never say die’ warrior mentality but I do not see him being able to do what Koscheck, Shields, Hughes, Penn, Alves, Fitch and others could not over the past nine fights– defeat Georges St. Pierre (or even win a round).
In the end isn’t GSP just in another class by himself (in the welterweight division)? He trains with the best in each discipline (and spends a fortune on his training camps), is given the best game plans for his opponents (Greg Jackson disciple) and has fought the absolute best of the best in the world. Nick Diaz, while a gamer has had some losses to a few opponents who aren’t exactly on GSPs level (Joe Riggs, Karo Parisyan, Diego Sanchez, Sean Sherk and KJ Noons).
I can see GSP working off his strong jab to setup Diaz for bigger strikes (kicks) while also utilizing his far superior strength to impose his will on Diaz. GSP will take Diaz down, control the fight on the mat with some nasty ground and pound, and simply win rounds. Seeing what happened the last time an opponent used his mouth to goad St. Pierre I could also see this being a vicious one-sided beat down (think Koscheck, Josh, orbital bone).
My predictions: GSP defeats Nick Diaz via unanimous decision.