If the UFC is looking for another welterweight challenger to face champion Georges St-Pierre, they need look no further.
Nick Diaz is ready to accept the challenge to face St-Pierre in the Octagon, it’s just a matter of UFC owners Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White making him the offer. This is according to his manager and trainer Cesar Gracie, who says Diaz is more than ready to step up to the challenge and face St-Pierre next.
“Nick wants that fight. He would love to take that fight,” Gracie told MMAWeekly Radio. “Obviously, I would like to put another one of my guys against Georges St-Pierre, so we definitely want that fight.”
Since his win over Paul Daley in Strikeforce in early April, Diaz has been making noise that he wants to take a shot in the pro boxing arena for his next contest in combat sports. His trainer believes Diaz definitely wants to box, but it has just as much to do with motivation or lack thereof with no contenders currently knocking on his door in Strikeforce.
“It’s no secret Nick was a little bit burnt out. He needs a bigger challenge,” Gracie stated. “No disrespect to the guys he’s been fighting because each one of them has brought something to the table. Paul Daley hits really hard, good hands, very dangerous opponent. (Evangelista) Cyborg, great kicks, dangerous opponent. K.J. Noons really good boxing also, dangerous, and Nick beat them all at their strengths.
“It’s definitely something Nick wants to motivate him even more. I think he kind of needs that, I really do.”
Diaz’s move to boxing was also financially motivated, according to Gracie. When the Stockton, Calif., native signed off on his new Strikeforce deal last year, he apparently accepted less per bout in the MMA realm on the condition that he’d be able to make up the difference by boxing.
As of yet, the boxing matches haven’t happened, so Diaz is looking to push himself out there to make it happen. The flipside, however, is if the UFC and Zuffa want Diaz to face St-Pierre, with a few conditions being met, they are happy to make that fight happen instead.
“The way we had the Strikeforce contract that we signed about a year ago, maybe a little less than that, was that here we’re going to pay you this much money per fight. It’s not quite the kind of money you probably should be making, but you’re going to be able to make it up because you’re going to be able to do boxing, and that might be the more lucrative deal. There was pluses involved and one of the benefits or bonuses, whatever you want to call it, was being able to box,” Gracie explained.
“Now all of a sudden if that’s taken away, we need to re-structure the contract maybe, that’s the only thing. I’m thinking that Dana’s going to be perceptive to this and Nick also working with that. It’s just one of those things we all have to sit down and figure it out.”
Over the UFC 129 weekend, UFC president Dana White stated several times that he planned on flying out to California to meet with Diaz and Gracie to iron out Diaz’s future. White admitted that Diaz has every right to box if he wants to based on his contract, but he was hopeful to keep him involved in MMA instead.
A fight with Georges St-Pierre might be just the medicine the doctor ordered.
“However, there’s a lot of questions to be answered and really the only people that can answer the questions are Lorenzo and Dana,” said Gracie.
“It’d be great, best case scenario for us would be Nick boxes and then he goes and fights GSP. But again, the person with the answer, the guys that have the answers to all of this and can make everything happen is Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White.”
Gracie says that White has not called him or Diaz yet to schedule a meeting so they can sit down at the table and figure things out, but he believes it will happen soon enough.
Gracie also believes that stylistically, Diaz is the perfect combination of striking and ground skills to give St-Pierre fits, and if they do face off later this year he thinks it’s his fighter who will come home with a gold belt around his waist.
“I feel pretty good about that fight as far as Nick having the chance to take care of business and bring the belt home back to the U.S. and Northern California,” Gracie stated.
Now it’s up to the UFC and St-Pierre to decide if they want Nick Diaz as badly as Nick Diaz wants to face Georges St-Pierre.