After UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre on Friday declared he was taking a leave of absence and vacating his belt, UFC president Dana White moved swiftly to fill the void.
He announced that Johny Hendricks would face Robbie Lawler at UFC 171 on March 15 in Dallas to declare a new champion. White added that he had something special in the works for Carlos Condit, another fighter that many considered a viable contender to the vacated belt.
At UFC on Fox 9 on Saturday night, White revealed that he offered a bout with Condit to “is he retired or is he not fighter” Nick Diaz. And evidently, at least for the foreseeable future, Diaz is still retired.
“I was trying to make Carlos Condit vs. Nick Diaz,” said White. “Nick Diaz turned the fight down tonight. He didn’t want it.”
It was a disappointment for White, who said that Condit accepted the fight immediately. At this point, it was up to Diaz to make the fight happen, but he declined.
White said he spoke to Diaz face to face at UFC on Fox 9 about the match-up, but he wasn’t about to press him on it if he didn’t want to fight. It wasn’t a matter of the details; it was a matter of desire.
“It’s not about negotiating. He’s under contract. It’s do you want to fight or do you not want to fight,” said White. “What you don’t want to do is pressure a guy that doesn’t want to fight.
“You gotta have (that fire) or you shouldn’t do it.”
Diaz apparently mentioned possibly coming back to fight sometime around May, but White later added that he wasn’t going to keep offering Diaz fights. He told Diaz to let him know when he’s ready to fight again.
In the meantime, it’s back to the drawing board for a fight for Carlos Condit, who was originally slated to meet Matt Brown on Saturday night. Brown, however, suffered a couple of herniated discs and had to bow out.
White wanted to broach the Condit vs. Diaz fight first, so now that the fight isn’t going to happen, he said they’ll rethink things and try to find a fight for Condit.