By Ray Ferrer / @RC_FurAir
Nick Diaz is a polarizing character. Between die hards and casual fans, Diaz is one of the few men in the UFC who without holding a title commands the same amount of intrigue and attention as a Champion. Don’t believe me? Then you try and explain why after two losses in a row and almost two years on hiatus, he has been given a shot at the G.O.A.T. that is Anderson Silva (where you at Georges St. Pierre?). Sure, he's amassed 26 wins and 9 losses during his 14 year career, and fought in almost every notable MMA organization, with the exception of Bellator. Even still, on paper the fight makes very little sense, but stylistically Silva v. Diaz will be nothing short of fireworks. The UFC truly sticks by their word in making fights the fans want to see.
It should come as no surprise that Anderson is a heavy favorite in this middleweight match up. Many believe Anderson to be MMA’s Michael Jordan, a sentiment that is hard to dispute. But will age wear on the former champ or is he just as good as he ever was? He ruled the middleweight division with an iron fist for six years and moved up in weight on occasion to further solidify his status as a pound-for-pound great, adding notches to his UFC strap such as Forrest Griffin, Rich Franklin, Vitor Belfort, and Dan Henderson. Even more impressive is his 10 successful title defense record, which doesn’t even include his three victories at Light-Heavyweight.
His streak was ended at the hands (and later the knee) of current champion, Chris Weidman. In the rematch, Weidman perfectly checked a low kick in the second round, breaking Anderson’s leg in gruesome fashion.
Many doubted Anderson’s ability to return, and at age 39 with a horrifying injury, who could truly blame them? But if I could guess as to what Anderson would say, in his high pitched broken English, it would go something like, “It's normal...it's normal for Anderson to back.” Fast forward a year, Anderson is back and in most peoples eyes is far too dynamic for the Stockton native to handle.
Diaz may not possess the accolades or big wins like Anderson, but he possesses one of the most exciting styles in MMA today. With a boxing style similar to a rip current, those that have ventured out too deep have drowned, left battered and gasping for air. Take him down and you’re sitting in the guard of a Cesar Gracie Jiu Jitsu Black Belt. He also possesses the ability to ramble and rant leaving most people scratching their heads, but simultaneously pushing out some of the best unscripted quotes in MMA. The guy doesn’t even have to show up to get people to talk about him.
Everyone and their moms expect Silva to manhandle Diaz. Even Nick has said:
“I’m just focused on walking out of here on Saturday,..like, after the fight, win or lose...you know….can I walk out? can I get up and walk out?...can I survive the night?”
Regardless of how it goes, Nick Diaz adds another name on his list of fighters he has stepped up to fight. Robbie Lawler, Takanori Gomi, George St. Pierre, B.J. Penn, Frank Shamrock, Carlos Condit and the list goes on. Anderson Silva provides the biggest test of his career, but win or lose, the lore and legend of Nick Diaz goes untarnished. We’ll keep buying wolf tickets as long as he’s involved. Unfortunately for Anderson Silva, a loss in any way to Nick, would have fans and fighters alike calling for his retirement.
You can call it an intriguing match up and even a super fight, but we should call it what it is. A high stakes tune-up match for “The G.O.A.T.” and the opportunity of a lifetime for MMA’s “Bad Boy.”
A former college wrestler, Taekwondo black-belt, and wannabe boxer, Paul Navarro (aka Fight Like Sugar) is now a full-time lawyer, part-time fight scribe, and high school wrestling coach.