A little over a year ago, UFC welterweight Nick Diaz dominated B.J. Penn at UFC 137, cruising to a unanimous decision win. At that time, everyone was excited for a superfight between Diaz, the former Strikeforce champion, against Georges St. Pierre, the UFC champion. In fact, from late 2011 to early 2012, the fight was scheduled and cancelled twice due to Diaz missing press conferences and GSP’s slow-healing knee injury.
Instead, Diaz would fight Carlos Condit last February for an interim title while GSP recovered, in what would presumably serve as another stepping stone to the big money match-up. Of course, Condit had other plans and beat Diaz in a controversial decision victory.
Now we stand (or, in my case, sit), with GSP having unified the welterweight titles and everyone speculating about his next challenge. Interestingly enough, the press conference following UFC 154 focused only on two potential opponents: UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva and the presumed number one contender for the welterweight strap, Johny Hendricks.
So where does this leave Diaz? He seems to be the forgotten man in the division, and the UFC in general after getting suspended for testing positive for marijuana after his fight against Condit. To address this diminished buzz in the MMA world, Diaz took to Twitter last night to remind us that he still wants a title shot, and still has an issue with St. Pierre.
I would still like to see Diaz fight GSP because I think that his striking could provide an exciting fight and I am certain that the pre-fight lead up would feature a ton of Diaz trash talking about how boring GSP is. And better yet, you know that GSP would respond with his forced, passive-aggressive trash talking where he basically calls Diaz a bully and then promises to knock him out.
At the same time, I don’t see it happening any time soon, because Dana White’s heart appears set on the money Silva-GSP could make him, and it would seem hard to justify allowing Diaz to jump Hendricks in the rankings without either of them fighting again before the next title shot is handed out.
So where does this leave Diaz? I can think of at least two potential interesting match-ups for him at 170. First would be a rematch against Condit, considering how controversial the decision in their first bout was. Also, if Diaz isn’t impressed by GSP controlling Condit, that doesn’t say a lot for what he thinks about Condit. Second would be a potential fight with the currently-sidelined Josh Koscheck. Both guys have name recognition, and would have the potential for fireworks both inside the cage and outside it.
Whatever happens with Diaz, it is guaranteed that controversy will follow, and Diaz’ strong opinions, will follow.