I Want Nick Diaz as UFC Welterweight Champion, and So Should YouAuthor : Jack Barrington
Do you want to see Nick Diaz as UFC Welterweight Champion? Well, you definitely should.
Stockton’s angriest man reclaimed his UFC title shot last Saturday at UFC 137, with an impressive decision win over B.J. Penn. Weathering an early storm from the former two-weight world champion, Diaz stepped up the pace in the second and third rounds, battering Penn for ten minutes to improve his MMA record to 26-7-1.
It’s true that Nick Diaz has his detractors, but I want to see him as a UFC champion, we all should. Because Nick Diaz has something a lot of fighters are lacking, something Georges St Pierre is definitely lacking: Nick Diaz isn’t just interesting, he’s captivating.
Whether he’s starting post-fight hospital room brawls, blowing off press conferences, or complaining he has to drive a Honda when he routinely earns upwards of $150,000 per fight in purse money, people care about what Nick Diaz does or says. And it’s not an act. Nick Diaz is not Chael Sonnen. The fact that Nick has no intention of playing up to the camera, or becoming any kind of media personality, only makes it even more enthralling when he does.
Diaz’ antics must be a manager’s nightmare, but they’re a fight fan’s dream. The unpredictable nature of MMA is one of the sport’s most alluring qualities. The way fights can change in an instant, momentum shifting wildly from one fighter to another with every blow landed, is what makes MMA stand out from other combat sports; it’s what separates us from the rest. Nick Diaz takes this unpredictable nature outside of the ring, and then runs with it.
You don’t know what Nick Diaz will do next because he doesn’t know himself. He doesn’t care. Nick Diaz is a throwback fighter. He shuns media appearances and refuses to indulge in manufactured fight hype because that’s not who he is. Nick Diaz doesn’t do press conferences; he’s too busy training for his next opponent, whoever that may be. And he doesn’t waste his time with contrived, hype filled feuds either; he’s too busy creating genuine bad blood with people for that.
B.J. Penn told us before last weekend that Diaz always comes to fight. His opinion won’t have changed. Diaz showed again against Penn that in the ring he has everything you could want from a prize-fighter. His iron chin, endless stamina and kill or be killed nature endears Nick Diaz to fans. And it should. Nick approaches the sport with the right attitude and has no intention of winning a points contest with position and control. He wants to assert his dominance the old fashioned way. BJ Penn had it right: Nick Diaz comes to fight.
And that’s what I want from a champion. If they come to fight then it doesn’t matter if they’re media friendly or respectful. Nick Diaz is a cage fighter, not a television presenter. He doesn’t recycle the same, carefully prepared pre-fight speech, or spend a year procrastinating over how to healthily add weight to his frame. Where others compete, Nick Diaz fights, and he acts like it, too.
The UFC prides itself on being as real as it gets, and MMA as a sport, despite its constant evolution and ever changing nature, has always retained a real sense of purity in competition. Well Nick Diaz is real, and whether you love him or hate him, it’s impossible to deny that his tenure as champion would be an interesting one.
Nick may be unreliable outside of the ring, but his reliability inside of it--where he consistently puts on gritty, exciting performances--more than makes up for it. Can you be certain of him showing up to a press conference? Maybe not, but uncertainty is one of the best things about this sport, let’s embrace it. I want Nick Diaz as champion, and so should you.