There are few fighters in MMA today who are as unfiltered as Nick Diaz, and in the conference call ahead of his anticipated matchup with Georges St. Pierre, the Stockton native was simply as his best.
Or his worst, depending on how you look at it.
Diaz had always come off with a certain brashness that’s both endeared him to fans, and maligned him as a villain who shows little to no respect to his opponents.
During the call, he made have parted that chasm even wider; but, regardless of whether you like him or not, there’s no denying that he’s one of the most compelling, heart-on-his-sleeve type fighters in the sport. When Diaz speaks, it’s hard not to listen.
Whether he was ranting on about how people weren’t giving him enough respect, or mixing both semi-insults about GSP being “pampered”, and then immediately changing his tone and saying that the UFC Welterweight champ was doing a “great job”, Diaz was rambling, confrontational, and even at times incoherent.
The 29-year old claimed that his life was “a mess”, and you know, he sure sounded like it.
St. Pierre was more than game to counter, and he did get in some choice words in there, asking Diaz, “have you even listened to yourself, Nick?”, and calling him an “uneducated fool” who may never find success because he’s not “smart enough to understand [what he] should do to reach that point.”
Ouch. It was an uncharacteristically harsh St. Pierre who engaged in the verbal battle, at one point even asking Diaz, “do you seriously think I’m afraid of you?”
While there’s no real reason for St. Pierre to realistically be afraid of anyone (in his weight class, anyway), he seemed taken aback be some of the things that Diaz went on about in the call, not quite knowing how to the right answer, as he’d done in media calls over and over in the past.
In short, you could even say St. Pierre was a little confused.
Is this what Diaz is hoping to accomplish? To seemingly contradict himself at times and go off tangent, so to put a usually calm and calculated GSP off his mark? Is he even doing it consciously?
More importantly, will it work?
Diaz knows that his best chance to win this fight is if he can get GSP to engage in the pocket for five rounds, as he’d done against B.J. Penn.
Conventional wisdom would say that GSP is simply too smart for that, and he’ll use his myriad of tools — and yes, to Diaz’s chagrin, that includes the Superman punch — to control the pace of the fight. If he stands with Diaz, he’ll jab him from range a la Josh Koscheck. If Diaz gets too close, St. Pierre will put him on his back.
In either case, Diaz is at a disadvantage – unless he can goad GSP into a dirty boxing match.
Whether it’ll work remains to be seen. However, this fight has brought out a level of pre-fight animosity not seen out of St. Pierre in years.
There’s no “this is the best/most dangerous opponent I’ve ever faced”. Instead, it’s all about how Diaz embodies disrespect, and that he “deserves to be beat down.” Georges has been more candid about his feelings, and the shield around him when he speaks doesn’t appear to be there when he’s talk about Diaz.
If that’s what Diaz meant when he said he was a MMA “superhero” bringing the “anti-bull****”, then consider it mission accomplished.