Strikeforce Champion Nick Diaz: Cyborg Is the Best Opponent For Me Right Now

January 28, 2011

Nick Diaz at UFC 53

Nick Diaz at UFC 53

If there’s one thing you can say about Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz, he always keeps things interesting.

Of course Diaz is one of the top 170-pound fighters in the world, but when you raise his ire, get ready for him to lash out.

It happened last week during a media conference call when the subject of moving weight classes was brought up, alluding to his ongoing rivalry with Jason “Mayhem” Miller. Diaz spoke his mind with a certain level of venom spewed at both Miller and the pay grades in MMA.

One thing Diaz approached with a much calmer attitude was his upcoming title fight against Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos in San Jose, Calif. Many have pegged Santos as undeserving of a title shot, having only one fight at 170 pounds, but Diaz is taking the journeyman fighter very seriously.

“He’s a brawler and he kicks well. He’s a kickboxer brawler. He’s a good fighter,” Diaz said about his opponent. “He has knockout power and he hits hard. He can hurt you with one punch. If you hit anyone right with a good punch, they’ll go down.”

Throughout his career, Santos has fought primarily at 185 pounds and has gone through his fair share of ups and downs. Before dropping down to 170 pounds, Santos had lost his only other bout in Strikeforce via decision to Joey Villasenor.

Following that fight when Santos returned to Strikeforce, he dropped down to welterweight and took out Dream champion Marius Zaromskis. The fight with Diaz will be an extremely tough step up in competition for the one time middleweight.

Diaz has seen plenty of footage on Santos, and while he’s a big believer in moving weight classes if it suits your career longevity, he’s not sure the Brazilian made the right choice in this case.

“He looks good at that weight (185 pounds). I always tell people if they are too small for 185 pounds they should come down to 170. I usually call people out for being too small at that weight. But I wouldn’t point the finger at him for that one. But I think 185 is probably a better weight for him,” Diaz stated.

Diaz is always looking for the toughest challenge and has no problem saying he wants to fight people like UFC champions Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre. Currently they are out of reach in a different promotion, and he won’t even broach the subject about fighting welterweight bad boy Paul Daley until this fight is over.

For Nick Diaz, it’s all about Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos until after their Jan. 29 fight.

“I think (Cyborg) is the best opponent for me right now,” Diaz said.

The champion will see if that’s the case when he steps in against the Chute Boxe fighter in the main event of the Strikeforce telecast on Showtime.