Could Nick Diaz be more focused on Georges St-Pierre than B.J. Penn heading into the UFC 137 main event?
Diaz was originally scheduled to face St-Pierre for the welterweight title at UFC 137, but was pulled from the bout after missing two media obligations to promote the Oct. 29 event.
Penn was originally inked to face Carlos Condit in the co-main event, but Condit received the call to replace Diaz against St-Pierre. Diaz was downgraded to the co-main event against Penn. The bout was then moved to the main event after St-Pierre was forced off the card due to an injury suffered in training.
For Diaz, going from fighting for the title to facing Penn had to be a let down.
“I would have preferred to fight GSP, of course, because it’s not like I’m fighting somebody that I already know. I’m fighting for the title. That’s why I started this. That’s why I’m fighting for the UFC because I came to fight for the title. I came for the money. I came to fight for the title. That was the GSP fight. Now I’m not getting that fight,” Diaz said recently on a media conference call.
“I signed to fight a certain guy (St-Pierre). I thought we had a deal. That’s kind of where I’m at on it,” commented Diaz just nine days before the scheduled bout with Penn.
Diaz has expressed regret about losing the opportunity to compete for the title against St-Pierre.
He has called for the St-Pierre fight for years. He’s played the match-up out in his head countless times and believes he’s the one to dethrone the champion. UFC 137 was supposed to be his triumphant return to the Octagon in a unification bout of sorts.
Every time he talks to the media, St-Pierre’s name seems to come up as much, if not more, than Penn‘s.
Maybe it’s the media who keeps asking him questions about St-Pierre and the title, or maybe Diaz hasn’t mentally accepted that the St-Pierre fight isn’t going to happen anytime soon. It’s hard for anyone to get a bead on what’s going on inside Diaz’s head, and I’m certainly no psychologist, but St-Pierre and the title seem to be fresh on his mind.
“If you fight for the title, you make a lot of money. If you win the title, you make a lot of money just holding that thing. It’s like people are throwing money at you everywhere you go. I don’t have that. I can’t stop fighting right now,” said Diaz at the media open workouts on Wednesday.
Penn, on the other hand, can’t be disappointed in the opponent switch. He didn’t have a title shot slip away. The change of opponent wasn’t a downgrade for him. He now faces the guy who was supposed to fight for the title and the former Strikeforce welterweight champion who is on a 10-fight winning streak.
The two fighters definitely have different perspectives heading into their upcoming bout, and while Diaz regularly discusses St-Pierre, Penn isn’t talking at all about Carlos Condit.