With all the recent hype around former Team Jackson training partners Jon “Bones” Jones and Rashad Evans choosing to fight each other, the question has come up among several other camps.
Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz has never been one to hold his tongue when asked a question. Simply put, he doesn’t think Jones and Evans were really teammates to begin with.
“They’re not real training partners though,” Diaz said about Jones and Evans. “You don’t understand, they’re like 10 years apart for one and they didn’t grow up training together. That guy’s just brand new into the sport. He’s just doing whatever, they’ve got him busy making photo shoots and press conferences, and conference calls and all this.
“I’m missing practice being on this. I’m missing a very serious practice. I’ve got a lot of people in front of me on the mat right now training and I need my practice.”
Diaz makes references to his own teammates like current UFC welterweight contender Jake Shields and his brother Nate Diaz who fight at 170 pounds in the UFC. Diaz wants no part of that discussion, and he will never ever fight one of them with anything on the line.
“That’s what they’ve got them doing and they’re not focused on what’s important to them in life. I’ve got what works, and I’ve got what’s got me there and that’s my team. That’s a disgusting thought to have to fight my brother. I don’t even appreciate being asked about that,” Diaz said.
Diaz’s teammate, Jake Shields, will of course be fighting Georges St-Pierre for the UFC welterweight title at UFC 129 in late April, but the current Strikeforce champion says they only battle in training; that’s just going to have to be enough.
“I fought with him today, yesterday in training,” Diaz said about Shields.
Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez, who also trains with Diaz and Shields, feels exactly the same way and puts his training partners in a whole different category.
“It’s more than training partners. We’re a family,” Melendez stated. “Someone like Nick, Nate, and Jake, they’ve all helped me become the fighter I am. How am I going to use these skills they taught me against them? We help each other get better, it’s just not right.”
Even with titles or money on the line, Melendez believes there will always be another fight available and he’ll choose that option before he’d ever fight one of his closest friends.
“If you’re turning around offering me $10 million dollars to fight my boy, then I’m sure someone’s going to offer me $8 million to fight somebody else,” Melendez said. “I’ll definitely take a pay cut or whatnot.
“It runs deeper than money and team. It’s family and loyalty.”