Strikeforce champ Nick Diaz says Georges St-Pierre just fine for his next opponent
by John Morgan on Feb 01, 2010 at 6:30 am ET
For as much praise as new Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz (21-7 MMA, 3-0 SF) receives for his grappling prowess, it's his voluminous striking attack that has led to his most recent surge in popularity.
Never was that more evident than in this past Saturday's "Strikeforce: Miami" main event, where Diaz defeated DREAM champ and vaunted striker Marius Zaromskis at his own game.
Now the question for Diaz becomes, "What's next?" And the scrappy Californian isn't afraid to ask for the best.
"I want to fight Georges St-Pierre," Diaz said. "That's the one fight I'm talking about."
Calling out the UFC's welterweight champion may prove an exercise in futility for Diaz. The company has stood by its vow not to cross-promote with other organizations, and every effort by fans, media and "crazy Russians" to get UFC brass to waver has fallen short.
Performances like Diaz's on Saturday night must get UFC president Dana White to at least take notice of the efforts of his former employee, but the likelihood of the exec offering up his champion is slim-to-none.
In the meantime, Diaz will have to find targets within Strikeforce's grasp.
Many observers believe Jay Hieron (19-4 MMA, 2-0 SF), who on Saturday fell victim to a technology failure and was once again unseen by fans not in attendance, should be next in line, but Diaz isn't so sure.
"I'd rather fight someone that's a little more important than Jay Hieron," Diaz said. "His fight wasn't even on the main card. Why am I going to fight him when no one saw [his fight]? I don't even know who he is.
"They keep bringing me these guys that nobody even knows who they are."
While Diaz's recent Strikeforce victims Scott Smith and Frank Shamrock might beg to differ, Diaz has a point. While his latest win will undoubtedly garner him further respect in the worldwide rankings at 170-pounds, Strikeforce might find it difficult to convince the public that bright prospects like Andre Galvao (3-1 MMA, 0-0 SF) or Tyron Woodley (6-0 MMA, 3-0 SF) are prepared for the matchup.
Fans have for years called for a rematch of a 2004 UFC bout between Diaz and current Strikeforce middleweight contender Robbie Lawler (17-5 MMA, 1-1 UFC), but the new 170-pound champion seemed to rule out that possibility.
"I fought Robbie before, and we fight at different weights (now)," Diaz said. "But we're friends as far as I'm concerned, so I don't even want to talk about something like that.
"Robbie Lawler's not talking [expletive] trying to fight me, so I'm not going to have anything bad to say about him."
A rematch with former EliteXC foe K.J. Noons (7-2 MMA, 0-0 SF), a recent Strikeforce signee, is also possible. But the bout would almost certainly be a catchweight affair, something that neither fighter would necessarily be keen to, and Noons is creeping up on two years without a mixed martial arts contest – a fact not lost on Diaz.
"Who is Noons?" Diaz asked. "He hasn't fought in forever. This guy doesn't even fight anymore. He quit. He's scared.
"What's he going to do? Is he going to fight or what?"
A rematch (or third meeting if you count their legendary post-fight hospital encounter) with Joe Riggs (32-11 MMA, 3-3 SF) was ruled out with "Diesel's" Saturday night loss to Hieron, so Diaz's next move is currently uncertain.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker seems to think a bout with DREAM fighter Hayato "Mach" Sakurai (35-10-2 MMA, 0-0 SF) could prove fruitful, but with the 34-year-old mired in an 0-2 slump and lacking a bankable name in the U.S., there is certainly no guarantee that the promotion's broadcast partners will buy into the plan.
So after notching his 10th win in his past 11 bouts, Diaz will sit back and wait for the smoke to clear. For his next appearance, Diaz asks only that his employers bring him the very best opponent – and paycheck – the sport has to offer.
"I want to fight the best," Diaz said. "I want to fight the people who everybody thinks is the best out there because they don't seem to notice me. They don't put me on any magazines. They don't put my brother on any magazines.
"Whoever you're going to pay me the most money to fight, I'm going to fight. ... I'm down to fight whoever."
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