Now that Paul Daley has been named as the No. 1 contender for Nick Diaz’s Strikeforce welterweight belt, the British bomber is wasting no time getting ready for the eventual showdown.
While some call his upcoming fight against DEEP champion Yuya Shirai a risky proposition, knowing if he loses he won’t get the chance to even fight Diaz, Daley looks at it as a chance to leave his home in England with one belt before going to American to claim another.
“Not really,” Daley told MMAWeekly Radio when asked if there’s more pressure on him to win now in England. “If anything, it’s more of a motivation. It’s two belts for me in one fight. If I beat Shirai and then I beat Diaz. I see no problem with either of the opponents, so for me it’s two belts. Beating Shirai means Diaz is already dead. His expiry date is up as soon as Shirai is out of the way.”
Daley watched Diaz’s last title defense with great interest because he knew he’d more than likely face the winner. Now that Strikeforce has decreed him the new top dog in the welterweight contender’s race, he’s happy to critique his potential next opponent.
“Diaz does that and I think his boxing’s underrated,” Daley said about the Strikeforce welterweight champion’s willingness to stand with opponents. “I think his boxing is phenomenal. He’s a great striker and he’s a guy that comes to fight. It was a great display of that in that fight. He was fighting with Cyborg standing up, Cyborg took him down, and he carried on fighting and submitted him. As a fighter, Nick Diaz is phenomenal.”
Compliments aside, Daley does respect Diaz as a fighter, but knows in his heart of hearts that like many fighters before him, saying you’ll stand with Paul Daley is much different than actually standing and trading with Paul Daley.
“Although he’s fought a lot of guys standing up, he’s not fought me,” said Daley. “I don’t mean to be arrogant and I don’t mean to continue piping on about it, but I’m a whole different animal when it comes to the stand-up game and I’ve continued to get better.
“I highly doubt there’s anyone in the welterweight division in MMA at the moment that’s on the scene, that’s getting press, that hits as hard as me. I don’t believe there’s a middleweight fighter that can get hit by me and not be in serious trouble.”
Daley watches Diaz play to his opponent’s strengths in many past fights to make the contest more exciting if that’s what the fans want to see. The British fighter likes Diaz’s style for that very reason, but he’s still convinced that once they’re in the cage together, someone’s going to be diving for takedowns and it won’t be Daley.
He even has a message for Strikeforce’s top welterweight.
“Nick Diaz isn’t going to go toe to toe with me. More like my fist and his head landing at my toe, none of this toe to toe business,” Daley said.
“Diaz, everybody knows if you come stand toe to toe with me, that would be the most stupidest game plan he could ever have. I don’t care who you’ve fought, you’ve never fought me, you’ve never been hit by me.”
Daley has a way with words and he welcomes a verbal exchange with Diaz if that’s what the champion wants, because he knows at the end of the day it’s only going to help build the fight to an even bigger status.
“I don’t do it for publicity when I say his expiry date’s going to be up, that’s genuinely how I feel,” said Daley. “I think the build-up could be interesting. I think if Diaz lets his mouth flow away with him, I think it could be quite entertaining.”
Before Daley gets a chance to engage in too much trash talking with Diaz he must first beat Yuya Shirai at BAMMA 5 next week, and then he hopes to fight for the Strikeforce welterweight title sometime around mid to late April.