It appears the first major cross-promotional fight between the UFC and Strikeforce could be coming to a head within the next few days.
After beating Jake Shields at UFC 129 in Toronto, it looked like Georges St-Pierre had all but cleaned out the best of the best in the welterweight division… except for one person. That one person is on the verge of signing to face St-Pierre later this year in a 170-pound title bout.
Nick Diaz is likely to face St-Pierre for his next UFC welterweight title defense in 2011, with all signs pointing towards a December showdown in Montreal.
Sources have indicated to MMAWeekly.com that a deal is imminent and the fight could be announced as early as next week. Like any potential deal, there is always the chance something could change at the 11th hour, but St-Pierre vs. Diaz is almost a certainty at this point.
Signs started pointing towards a St-Pierre/Diaz showdown almost as soon as UFC 129 ended when UFC president Dana White fielded questions from the press about the likelihood of the fight happening.
“I imagine I could do whatever I wanted to do if I really wanted to, but we have a contract with Showtime and he’s a Showtime fighter. I don’t know, we’re going to have to see how this whole thing works out. That’s an interesting fight,” White said about Diaz coming over to face St-Pierre.
Following that statement, Diaz was on the verge of signing a deal that would have him fight former middleweight champion Jeff Lacy in a boxing match, unless the UFC came forward with a deal to fight St-Pierre.
“Unless GSP is offered up as a sacrifice, Nick will fight Lacy,” Diaz’s manager and trainer Cesar Gracie told MMAWeekly.com on May 6.
Now it looks like the UFC is ready to make the match-up happen.
More signs started to point towards the fight being put together when the UFC director of Canadian operations Tom Wright mentioned a show targeted for Montreal in December, and admitted there had been rumors about a St-Pierre/Diaz title fight.
“Well, I’ve heard about the Nick Diaz-GSP fight, but it is too early (to tell),” Wright said.
On Thursday, Diaz was in Las Vegas meeting with White to discuss his future plans, which included if he was going to box or stick with MMA this year.
Neither Gracie nor St-Pierre’s representation could be reached for comment at the time of publication. Sources have indicated, however, that the two fighters will meet later this year.
St-Pierre has long stated that his preference was to stay in the welterweight division, and while a super fight against UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva could happen at some point down the road, the Brazilian is currently scheduled for a title defense of his own in late August.
That leaves St-Pierre with one major opponent left to face, Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz.