Despite Pre-Fight Hype, Nick Diaz Not Embracing Villain Role Heading Into UFC 158: “I’m Just Trying To Make My Way To The Top”
By Kelsey Mowatt
In recent years, Nick Diaz has gone on to become one of mixed-martial-arts most fascinating and polarizing personalities, and since the former Strikeforce champ returned to the UFC in 2011, there’s been no shortage of controversy. Not only has Diaz made headlines for making brash statements and calling out one of the sport’s most popular fighters in Georges St. Pierre, but for incurring another suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission, and missing media obligations.
While Diaz abilities as a fighter is one of the reasons his March 16th bout with St. Pierre is one of the more anticipated fights in recent memory, so is the pre-fight, “good guy vs. bad guy” narrative. The UFC 158 poster features Diaz menacingly looking down over the welterweight champ, with the caption “bad blood runs deep.” The UFC 158 trailer relays that the outspoken Diaz has so enraged St. Pierre with his “disrespectful” actions, that the normally reserved champion has declared the challenger needs “to get beat down.” While this storyline is another reason why UFC 158 will do quite well in PPV buys, it’s a portrayal that Diaz clearly doesn’t agree with.
“What did I ever say?” An angry Diaz said during a recent media call, after St. Pierre was asked if he’s ever had this much animosity towards an opponent heading into a fight. “He had no reason to fight me, straight up, other than I’m the number one martial artist; not because I’m disrespectful or that I have a bad attitude.”
Although St. Pierre has stated recently that his wish to fight Diaz is based on his impressive record, and his belief that the welterweight is the number one contender, it wasn’t long ago that a different picture was being painted. Following Diaz’s one sided, decision win over BJ Penn in October, 2011, the Stockton fighter claimed that St. Pierre was afraid to fight him and was faking an injury. UFC President Dana White announced afterwards that St. Pierre had “flipped out” and had called for a bout with the “disrespectful” Diaz. The footage, not surprisingly, is in the UFC 158 trailer.
“I deserve to get beat down? That’s what you said right?” Diaz asked St. Pierre. “Who the f–k are you? You know what, honestly, I don’t think you deserve to get beat down. I don’t think that. I don’t want you to get beat down; I don’t want anyone to get beat down. I’d like to win the fight.”
“You know me real well; you know I deserve to get beat down,” an animated Diaz furthered, before St. Pierre asked “you seriously believe I’m afraid of you man?”
“You believe I deserve to be beat down,” the 29 year-old Diaz continued. “I deserve it for running my mouth? To get this position? To become something like you are…you’re making those statements to the whole world? That I’m this piece of sh– that deserves to be beat down? And then you let Dana (White) talk like I’m the most disrespectful person?”
While there are thousands of fans who like Diaz precisely because of his actions, which can range from introspective to chaotic, it’s becoming clear that the fighter is not comfortable with being cast as the villain, as some might have thought.
“Some f—in 40 year-old-lady, some soccer mom, sticks her head out the window and was like “I hope GSP beats your ass”,” the California fighter revealed. “We’re in f—in Lodi b–ch; we’re in Lodi and you want Georges to beat my ass. That’s wonderful. I live in a small town full of people that hate me over here.”
“I’m trying to work my way up into a fight, and I’m the most disrespectful person that walks the earth? I deserve to get the sh– beat out of me because I’m this disgusting person, because when you say something, everyone believes it dude,” Diaz argued. “Everybody wants to know what Georges thinks; what Georges says, and they want to look like how Georges looks, wear tight shorts like Georges…I’m just trying to make my way to the top.”
The March 16th, UFC 158 card will be hosted by Montreal’s Bell Centre.