On Saturday, March 16, 2013, the mixed martial arts world will witness the culmination of years of tension and animosity between two of the greatest welterweights in the world. At UFC 158, Georges St. Pierre and Nick Diaz will face each other for the 170lb. championship title.
These two fighters were scheduled to face each other at UFC 137. Due to Diaz's chronic absence at UFC press shows, however, UFC president Dana White substituted the "Stockton Bad Boy" for Carlos Condit. Shortly thereafter, St. Pierre became sidelined with a knee injury that forced him to take a 19-month hiatus away from the octagon.
Diaz went on to defeat future UFC hall of famer B.J. Penn at UFC 137. Then, at UFC 143, Diaz fought Condit for the interim welterweight title, only to lose by decision. Therefore, when St. Pierre returned and successfully defended his title against Condit at UFC 154, the most logical match-up was to place St. Pierre and Diaz against one another.
Since then, Diaz has questioned the current welterweight champion's heart, and is more than confident in his abilities to end St. Pierre's 10-fight win streak. At a recent media scrum in Las Vegas, Diaz stated, "This is the fight I want. I want to go out there and beat Georges St-Pierre in Montreal and show that I'm the best welterweight in the world."
St. Pierre, on the other hand, apparently has never been more motivated to face an opponent. Responding to Diaz's insults and disrespectful behavior, the usually mild-mannered Canadian champion uncharacteristically exclaimed, "He's [Nick Diaz] the most disrespectful human being I've ever met, and I'm going to put the worst beating you've ever seen on him in the UFC."
In a separate interview with Sports Illustrated, St. Pierre gave light to the incredible amount of damage he plans to inflict upon Diaz on March 16. He stated, "He's (Diaz) been disrespectful to me. He's not the only fighter who's been disrespectful. Remember Josh Koscheck and B.J. Penn? Remember what they said? They were disrespectful. You saw how those fights turned out."
The match-up between St. Pierre and Diaz has all the fixings to be record-breaking. At UFC 158, St. Pierre will attempt to extend his winning streak to 11, while Diaz plans on humiliating the champion in his hometown of Canada.
Georges St. Pierre: St. Pierre, who once considered trying out for the Canadian Olympic wrestling team, is the complete athlete. His wrestling is bar none. St. Pierre has made a career out of taking his opponents down, controlling them on the ground, and garnering the decision. In fact, St. Pierre holds the record for most wins by decision in the UFC (10). The French-Canadian has often been criticized for his inability to finish fights. Yet, his style of fighting is extremely technical, and it is difficult to believe that his upcoming match against Diaz will be any different.
Nick Diaz: Diaz, on the other hand, poses three interesting problems for the current welterweight champion - boxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), and intense stamina. 77% of the welterweight's wins have come by way of knockout or submission. Boxing and BJJ represent major parts of his arsenal, and Diaz's stamina fuels the latter aspects of his game. In fact, aside from having trained with Olympic boxing gold medalist and undefeated champion Andre Ward, Diaz is also a Gracie BJJ black belt, and participates in triathlons. Regarding his cardio training, Diaz stated:
"Fighters are afraid of conditioning, they are afraid of getting tired, but I don't want to have anxiety or be afraid of anything. I can go 100% out there and never have to worry about getting tired. Everybody says fighting is 90% mental, and it's true. Knowing you can go 15 minutes or 25 minutes without any problem can help you sustain that mental advantage over your opponent..."
Before losing his last fight by decision to Condit at UFC 143, Diaz defeated 10 of his previous 11 opponents by knockout or submission. Even though Diaz was out-pointed in his last outing in the octagon, he is confident that he'll walk away with the championship on Saturday, March 16.
"…Georges is a [expletive]. He's got Freddie Roach in there babying him up. I don't think he's doing any serious work with anybody. I don't think he's giving anybody any serious work. I don't think they would be confident having him spar with somebody that's going to put real punches on him."
All the insults and vitriol will end on March 16, 2013, when mixed martial arts fans will witness one of the greatest, most intense rivalries to ever take place in the octagon.Clinton Alexander Bullock has been a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner for many years. He has studied mixed martial arts for 12 years and has been published in the Philadelphia Sunday Sun Newspaper, Next Step Magazine, and Yahoo! News. Follow him on Facebook & Twitter @clintonbullock.
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