Opinion: Is It Finally Time for Nick Diaz and The Cesar Gracie Camp?
By Michael Hatamoto
UFC welterweight contender Nick Diaz will finally get his chance to fight dominant welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, after an ongoing drama between the San Francisco Bay Area native and French-Canadian.
This is finally put up or shut up time for Diaz and coach Cesar Gracie, as everything looks to be falling into place nicely for the contender.
During the most recent UFC conference call featuring GSP and Diaz ahead of UFC 158, Diaz went off on an epic tangent – and was able to surprisingly get a reaction from the normally quiet French-Canadian champion.
I’m a big fan of Diaz – and his constant training and skill set – but I don’t think GSP will let an opportunity to dominate his antagonist slip by.
Diaz relies on his technical boxing and punches in bunches, though will leave himself open to counter punches and leg kicks, which GSP should utilize to carefully set up take downs. Once on the ground, I think GSP has the top control and BJJ knowledge to avoid Diaz’s submissions and grind him down.
This could be an exciting standup war, but I expect GSP will do whatever it takes to win the fight as safely as possible.
Former contender Carlos Condit – who lost to GSP but topped Diaz in a decision – believes GSP will face early problems from Diaz, but ultimately pick up the win.
The Cesar Gracie fight team has a strong core group of fighters and teammates, but capturing a UFC championship has proven to be difficult.
Former contender Jake Shields lost when he fought GSP at UFC 129 in April 2011, then Nate Diaz lost to Benson Henderson at UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Diaz in December 2012. Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez will next get a shot at Henderson – and to capture UFC gold for the Cesar Gracie team – during the main event of UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Melendez next month in San Jose.
The MMA world will see next weekend if Diaz is able to step up and capture the UFC championship from the most dominant welterweight ever.