Jason High on Nick Diaz: “He’s fun to watch fight, until he’s getting beat up by a wrestler”
Strikeforce welterweight waiting on next fight; hoping to challenge for title in 2012
By Kelsey Mowatt
While the Ultimate Fighting Championship continues to confirm bouts to facilitate the promotion’s busy schedule, many fighters contracted to fellow Zuffa property Strikeforce, are still waiting by the phone. It appears as though, until Zuffa and Showtime determine whether or not the network will broadcast Strikeforce cards in 2012, what exactly is next for the promotion remains in doubt.
Among the many fighters who aren’t sure when and who they will fight again is welterweight Jason High, who since exiting from the UFC last year, has put together a six fight winning streak.
“I haven’t heard anything,” said High, who is coming off a unanimous decision win over Todd Moore in September, which improved his overall record to 15-3. “I know I’m hoping to fight in January, but they haven’t told me any details yet.”
Aside from the fact that Strikeforce has cards coming up in mid-November and December, there has been little news as to what will unfold for the promotion in 2012, other than the recent revelation that UFC President Dana White has also become part of the Zuffa, Showtime negotiations.
“I haven’t heard anything about that either,” High told FCF, while discussing the ongoing speculation regarding Strikeforce’s future. “Honestly I wouldn’t mind either way, whatever happens with them, but as far anything concrete all I’ve heard is rumors.”
Not only has High continued to win since he lost by unanimous decision to Charlie Brenneman last March, in his one-and-only Octagon performance to date, he’s scored victories over notable fighters like Hayato Sakurai and Strikeforce prospect Jordan Mein. Armed with an aforementioned six fight win streak, one would think that the American Top Team fighter would receive a long look from UFC officials, if indeed, Strikeforce ceases operations next year.
“If they do decide to merge with the UFC I’ll be ready,” said High, “As far as my standing in Strikeforce, I still don’t think they’re really sure what to do with me. We’ll see how that plays out in what match-ups they give me.”
High returned to the Zuffa fold this past June, and before facing Moore in September, the 30 year-old-vet worked his way to a decision win over former King of the Cage champion Quinn Mulhern.
“I’d like it to be, but I haven’t heard anything from them,” High noted, when asked if he believes he’s earned a fight with one of Strikeforce’s more established welterweights. “It’s kind of a difficult situation because no one really knows where they’re going. Right now, I’m still in Challengers, so as far as the good guys, they’re all in Strikeforce, so something would have to happen first.”
Television deals and the promotion’s future aside, the Strikeforce welterweight division is in a particularly interesting situation, due to ex-champion Nick Diaz’s departure to the UFC. It’s widely held that Tyron Woodley will at some point fight for the vacant belt, but against who, remains to be seen.
“I think he should be fighting for the title right now,” said High about his ATT teammate Woodley. “I think he’s number one in the division, but I don’t think that’s a fight we’re going to do, he’s a good friend of mine. He should have been fighting Nick Diaz, I think, but obviously that’s not going to happen.”
While Woodley has yet to break the ten fight mark, and does not have the stature of recent Diaz opponents like BJ Penn, the undefeated fighter’s wrestling background may set him apart from some of Diaz’s more recent competition.
“I didn’t have much of a problem with them moving him (Diaz) to the UFC, but I thought giving him a title shot right off the bat wasn’t fair to guys like Jake Ellenberger or Jon Fitch,” High stated. “I think he should have had to fight a good wrestler, before he gets to go in there and fight GSP. Either in Strikeforce or the UFC, we should get to see where he is on that front.
“But it’s all about the ticket sales and money and he’s fun to watch fight, until he’s getting beat up by a wrestler,” the former collegiate wrestler added. “Like I said before, when he’s fighting he’s among my favorite fighters out there, he’s fun to watch, but I’m still waiting to see how he does against a good wrestler.”
Now, with the 2011 campaign coming to a close, High has set a clear goal for 2012.
“I’d like to take maybe two more fights and then have a title shot; that would be ideal.”