Although Georges St. Pierre Insists Nick Diaz “Is The Right Guy” For UFC 158 Title Fight, Champion Concedes “There’s A Lot Of Animosity”
By Kelsey Mowatt
One should expect this Saturday’s UFC 158 card in Montreal, Quebec, to draw a significant number of pay–per-view buys, not only because one of the promotion’s most popular and respected champions is fighting, but because of the main event’s backstory. The promotion has predictably done it’s best, in pre-fight trailers and the like, to remind fans as to why UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre will fight Nick Diaz, March 16th, and according to the narrative, it’s not because the latter is the number one contender.
As the UFC 158 poster states, rather, Saturday’s highly anticipated headliner is taking place because “bad blood runs deep.” During his reign as Strikeforce champion, the highly skilled and outspoken Diaz never shied away from calling out St. Pierre. Once Diaz made his long awaited return to the UFC, and after he soundly defeated former champ BJ Penn in 2011, he even accused St. Pierre of faking an injury as a way to avoid fighting the resilient fighter.
St. Pierre apparently didn’t care for the accusation, as according to UFC President Dana White, the angry champ proceeded to call for a fight with the “disrespectful” Diaz. Despite the UFC’s ad campaign, however, which includes GSP relaying that Diaz needs to get “beat down”, the champion has consistently maintained his interest in fighting Diaz is based on the challenger’s abilities. In other words, if St. Pierre has other reasons for wanting to fight Diaz, he hasn’t been going out of his way to share them.
“Yes, because I believe his victory over BJ Penn and the way he beat BJ Penn solidified his position as the number one guy,” St. Pierre said during a recent media call, when asked if he would have asked the UFC for a bout with Diaz, if the veteran hadn’t called him out following the October, 2011 win.
Of course, Diaz went on to face Condit for the promotion’s interim belt last February, but lost via a tightly contested unanimous decision. As a result, St. Pierre had little choice but to fight Condit last November, when he returned from knee surgery.
“His fight with Condit was a very close decision that he lost,” furthered GSP, who in turn defeated Condit by UD. “I believe it solidified his position as the number one guy, so yeah, I would have wanted to fight him because of that, of course.”
While St. Pierre has largely stuck with the calm demeanor he employs before most bouts, more recently, the champion’s reactions to Diaz have provided further insights as to why this bout is happening.
“Listen to me Nick, you are the right guy,” St. Pierre said to an angry Diaz, who credited GSP for recognizing he should fight for the belt next, but took issue with the champ’s claims that he’s been disrespectful and deserves to be “beat down.” “We’re fighting each other because you’re the number one guy, the right guy, and the fact that there’s a lot of animosity is good for the fight; it’s good promotion, everybody wants to have the fight because you’re the right guy.”
“I don’t wish you a bad life,” the 31 year-old-fighter told Diaz during the call, which also featured St. Pierre calling the challenger an “uneducated fool” as the two argued. “I don’t wish you bad things. It’s a fight; I want to win; we all want the number one spot…it’s a dangerous sport, that’s why there’s a lot of tension, and the best man will win.”
UFC 158 will be hosted by Montreal’s Bell Centre.