It’s not easy being Nick Diaz. The Strikeforce welterweight champion is so frustrated with lack of opponents and money that he is ready to leave MMA. How ready is he? According to his management, he has just signed his first pro boxing fight in September and it’s a doozy.
According to Diaz’s camp, Nick Diaz has signed to fight former IBF and WBA light middleweight champion Fernando Vargas. Diaz’s camp tells Inside MMA on this week’s show that Nick has signed, the fight is set for September, and all that remains is Vargas’ signature. In other words, Diaz has one foot out the door of MMA.
Apparently this is all news to Fernando Vargas. Vargas’ manager denies all of this and claims that nobody has even approached him about a fight.
“Nobody has contacted me or my team about a fight with Nick Diaz for a supposed September fight,” said Vargas. “I have not been in the gym but I have been running and keeping myself in shape. If they’re serious about fighting me then put the money where their mouth is and let’s see what they’re talking about.”
I think this is a fascinating story that is beginning to develop here. I don’t think anyone would argue that Nick Diaz is one of the biggest and maybe the biggest star in Strikeforce. I have to believe that the appeal of a Nick Diaz vs. Georges St. Pierre fight is one of a laundry list of reasons that Zuffa purchased Strikeforce. Nick Diaz leaving the company for a professional boxing career would be a huge blow to potential Super Fights.
I also have to wonder if the UFC and Scott Coker aren’t already working towards a Georges St. Pierre vs. Nick Diaz UFC vs. Strikeforce Mega Fight. Dana White went from almost guaranteeing a GSP vs. Anderson Silva fight a few months to go to calling it a “fantasy fight.” Then without waiting to see what happens in the Jake Shields vs. St. Pierre fight, White takes Anderson Silva off the table and signs him to fight Yushin Okami. If GSP beats Shields, he really has no quality opponents left on the table with both Jon Fitch and BJ Penn hurt and Anderson Silva occupied with Okami. As soon as I heard the Okami vs. Silva news my immediate thought was, “they’re working on GSP vs. Nick Diaz.”
Is Nick Diaz serious or is it posturing? In no uncertain terms Diaz’s camp says he is signed to fight Vargas. That could mean a lot of different things. In boxing, one guy agreeing or signing for a fight doesn’t guarantee anything or we would have seen Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather by now. Vargas’ camp completely denies this and USA Today reports that Diaz will instead make his boxing debut against Jeff Lacy so who knows what Diaz is up to? Nick Diaz is an MMA fighter and a great one at that. I think deep down this is all posturing for a Georges St. Pierre fight. A GSP fight would give Diaz the biggest fight of his career and more money than he has probably made for his entire career. I can’t imagine Diaz making more money boxing than he would fighting the UFC welterweight champion.
Some would agree that Nick Diaz is kind of nuts and fighting Fernando Vargas in your first professional boxing match would probably confirm that. Diaz has been training and fighting in MMA for ten years. Diaz has no pro boxing experience and taking your first fight against someone like Vargas is almost as ridiculous as James Toney fighting Randy Couture in his first MMA fight. While Diaz is unquestionably an awesome striker, boxing is just entirely different. For one, he has to prepare for 10-12 rounds as opposed to five. Two, while Diaz does have a good chin if he takes the kind of shots from Vargas that he took from Paul Daley, it would be lights out for the MMA champion.
Say what you will about Nick Diaz but in the last two weeks he has turned himself into one of the most interesting stars in MMA with his comments and interviews. He has threatened reporters, threatened retirement, and fought one of the most exciting MMA rounds of the year. The more he talks and the more he backs it up, the more fans want to see him fight. If I were a betting man I’d say that Diaz’s next fight is against Georges St. Pierre but with Nick Diaz, anything is possible.
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