For the third time in over a year the UFC is expected to put together the biggest welterweight championship fight in UFC history. UFC president Dana White confirmed plans this week to pit Nick Diaz against GSP for the welterweight title at UFC 158 in March. The bout has been verbally agreed upon by all parties yet nothing is signed as of this writing.
According to Ariel Helwani at MMAFighting.com Diaz’s manager Cesar Gracie hopes to have the contract signed this week. The fight comes after GSP turned down repeated offers to fight Anderson Silva after going to the UFC and asking for the fight with Diaz.
“Georges St-Pierre has been a phenomenal champion, just a great guy to deal with for us,” White said last week. “He doesn’t ask for things. So if he wants to fight Nick Diaz, and Nick Diaz wants to fight him, then that’s probably the fight we’ll make.”
The fight certainly doesn’t come without controversy. Many are criticizing the UFC for giving Nick Diaz a championship fight after not only losing his last bout to Carlos Condit but coming immediately off a suspension for marijuana metabolites. Unfortunately for those critics if there is one thing that the UFC has made perfectly clear the last year it is that they are a business before sport. In an era where Chael Sonnen and Vitor Belfort are challenging out of division for titles, I hardly think that Diaz getting a title shot is a big deal at all.
The fight is slated for UFC 158 in Montreal and will be supported by St-Pierre’s protégé Rory MacDonald underneath fighting Carlos Condit in what has turned out to be a grudge rematch. I would be stunned if the event didn’t sell out quickly with GSP and Diaz on top. The only thing that may prevent that from happening is fans taking a wait and see approach to make sure that nobody gets hurt and they get the fights they are paying to see.
This is now the third time that the UFC has tried to pull off what should be an easy fight to make. The fight was first scheduled for UFC 137 but cancelled after Nick Diaz failed to show up for press conferences. The fight was then scheduled for UFC 143. GSP wound up injuring his ACL thus taking him out of that fight. Maybe the third time is the charm?
Diaz vs. GSP has the potential to be the biggest fight in 2013 for the UFC. Other potential superfights with Ronda Rousey vs. Cyborg, Jon Jones vs. Anderson Silva, and Silva vs. GSP don’t look anywhere close to happening. The UFC can’t afford to have this fight fall through again.
Yet with Nick Diaz you can’t count on anything until you see him in the octagon.