Former Strikeforce welterweight champion, Nick Diaz, will challenge Georges St. Pierre for the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s welterweight title on March 16.
The two will headline the UFC 158 fight card at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada.
While GSP (23-2-0, 8 KOs) is the favorite heading into their title clash, Diaz (26-8-0, 13 KOs) believes his toughness will get him past the long-reigning welterweight champ. He even questioned GSP’s heart during a recent interview.
“I will tell you right now, I want to fight the No. 1 fighter in the world. I have always said that,” Diaz explained. “I want to fight the No. 1 fighter. Georges has never said that. That’s the only thing I’ve ever said negative about Georges. If I were in his place, I would do more. I would be asking for the Anderson Silva fight. I wouldn’t let that blow away. That’s crazy!”
Diaz tried to secure a bout against the middleweight champ a while back, and he does deserve credit for his willingness to trade shots with MMA’s pound-for-pound best. However, it isn’t fair to question GSP’s heart because of his lack of enthusiasm about a potential fight against Silva.
For Nick Diaz, a fight against Silva is win-win situation. If he loses, he gets a fat check. If he wins, he gets the middleweight strap, a big fat check, and he’ll be known worldwide as the man who ended “The Spider’s” reign. He’d be foolish not to be open to the idea of a fight against Anderson.
Things are a bit more complicated for St. Pierre.
While fighting Silva has some benefits for GSP, it also comes with a lot of risks, like the end of his impressive 10-fight win streak which includes 9 title bouts. Sure, GSP would make an unprecedented amount of money if he ever agrees to fight Anderson, but he already walks away with huge paydays every time he fights.
Then, there’s the fact Silva is the baddest man on the planet.
A GSP vs. Silva fight is a mismatch on so many levels, it doesn’t offer much when it comes to genuine competition. Silva is a rangy middleweight who has been able to dominate much larger opponents in the light-heavyweight division, while Georges is a welterweight who has never fought at 185 pounds.
Striking wise, Silva is on a completely different level, and given the way he handled Chael Sonnen — who was walking around as high as 225 pounds a couple of months before their UFC 148 title bout — it’s hard to see GSP doing much better than the “American Gangster” in terms of keeping Silva grounded. He might score a few takedowns, but like Sonnen, he’d eventually get tangled up in the Spider’s web.
Given the above reasons, questioning GSP’s heart for his reluctance to fight Silva is unmerited. It’s like questioning Anderson’s courage because he doesn’t seem genuinely interested in a super-fight against light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Moving up weight classes is one thing, but going up to face the best fighter in that division is a completely different beast.