When we look at the career of Nick Diaz, a few thoughts come to mind of those that like him and those that hate him. He is entertaining, exciting, skilled, a finisher, and a jerk. He is the most exciting champion in MMA, with his performances against Cyborg, Scott Smith, Frank Shamrock and Paul Daley reminding us that he will throw caution to the wind and go toe to toe with anyone.
The fact that he possesses some of the best ground game in mma and one of the biggest hearts in the cage do not excuse the fact that he has one of the worst attitudes. His disrespect of his opponents, his complaints about not being paid enough even though he is one of the highest paid athletes in Strikeforce, his vocal complaints about mma and let’s not forget how his trainer even admits that he is having a hard time being motivated for fights.
Yet the man keeps on winning and his “screw the world” attitude is appealing to a lot of folks including yours truly. He is a free spirit who will speak his mind even though, at times, it is inappropriate (telling a reporter that he dislikes them on camera). Or his actions such as after losing to Joe Riggs in the UFC getting into a fight with Riggs in a hospital or getting into a brawl with the camp of KJ Noons in Elite XC but not before saying to Noons: “Don’t be scared Homie!”
Of course we remember the Mayhem Miller brawl after Jake Shields won his bout over Dan Henderson; Mayhem interrupted to issue a challenge only to be beaten down by the Diaz camp, or flipping the fans the bird ala Stone Cold Steve Austin.
In every combat sport there is always one guy who truly is nuts. In boxing, we had Mike Tyson, Ricardo Mayorga and Andrew Golota. The only difference is Tyson was the only one who was an elite pound for pound fighter.
Diaz is also in the pound for pound category and to prove he is truly crazy he is in talks with Jeff Lacy to fight him in a pro boxing match. How is that possible you ask when he is under contract with Strikeforce? Well he has it structured under his contract that he can take a boxing fight apparently one a year. But for all the appreciation I have for him truly being different and being his own person I have my reservations about his quality of opponents.
It is no secret that Diaz does not like wrestlers in his experience in the UFC that was his weakness which was facing wrestlers that had good submission defence. They would always find away to get him on his back. Now in Strikeforce, when Jay Hieron was there, he continued to turn down fights with him by stating that he was not a big enough name.
Hieron is a very good wrestler who would have given Diaz fits. Now Tyron Woodley, a top contender at the welterweight division, and an outstanding wrestler is next in line and instead of facing him is he is thinking of taking a break from the sport.
The opinions Diaz brings up about going back to the Pride system of a wrestler that just lay-n-pray getting a yellow card are very intriguing. Too often we see wrestlers that lay-n-pray and get decisions despite the fact that, in some cases, a lot of the takedowns were stuffed.
In the case of Marcos Galvao…that was exactly the case in Bellator. But Diaz and his reluctance to face wrestlers, there is two ways of looking at it.
The first is he is scared and if he were to lose, he would have to go back to the drawing board, the fact that if he was to lose to an unknown, it would take several years to rebuild his reputation as an elite fighter (see his first fight with unknown at the time KJ Noons).
The other way of looking at it is he is Strikeforce best fighter and most known next to Fedor and hendo and he has limited opportunity with his style of fighting to make as much money as he can and at this point of his career he is at his best and should be facing the best.
Since defeating Daley, Diaz has stated his next fight should be against Anderson Silva or GSP any other fight he will refuse.
Whatever Diaz decides to do next…if offered a chance to face a wrestler my advice to him is: “Don’t be scared homie!” Once again, although I question some of his opposition, I do not question his ability as a fighter and I generally feel that he should be facing the best in Strikeforce/UFC and I hope that comes to fruition because it will be a chance to truly prove who the best fighter on the planet is.