In a recent article on MMAfighting.com, they announced their latest welterweight division rankings. In those rankings, they named Strikeforce Welterweight Champion Nick Diaz as the seventh best welterweight in the world. What I don’t understand is how can he be ranked so high? I do not doubt his talent and ability because 10 times out of 10, I’d end up on my back looking at the ceiling if we ever fought. I’m not even saying this because I don’t like him, because I am a huge Diaz fan. I’m saying this because, since he is fighting for Strikeforce, the minor leagues of MMA in America, he isn’t getting challenged.
Diaz had his chance in the UFC and did well in his first five fights; going 4 – 1 with wins over Jeremy Jackson, Robbie Lawler, Drew Fickett & Koji Oishi. When Diaz advanced to face better MMA fighters, he struggled. He lost his next three fights to Diego Sanchez, Joe Riggs & Sean Sherk by unanimous decision, prompting his release from the organization. Following a fight in his hometown, Diaz returned to the UFC as an injury replacement defeating Josh Neer & then Gleison Tibau before deciding to sign with Gracie Fighting Championships.
As a matter a fact, since the loss to Sherk in April 2006, Diaz has only lost a single fight to K.J. Noons for the Elite XC Lightweight Title. At PRIDE 33 in February 2007, Diaz made Japanese legend Takanori Gomi tap out, before having the win ruled a no contest following a positive marijuana test. Give him back that win and Diaz is 14 – 1 over his last 15 fights. That’s almost as dominant record-wise as any fighter in the world, but let’s talk about the level of talent he’s seen since May 2008.
His nine opponents during his current streak have an overall record of 177 wins – 81 losses – 6 draws – 3 NC. The biggest names he’s defeated during the streak have been Frank Shamrock, Noons & Hayato Sakurai. But the names like Katsuya Inoue, Thomas Denny & Evangelista Santos that Diaz has disposed of bring down his overall level of quality down.
Diaz has had an incredible career thus far. He is only 27 years old and is constantly learning. He was the first ever WEC & Strikeforce Welterweight Champion. He’s successfully defended the Strikeforce gold 3 times and has made it look easy in the process. He has all the potential to be one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, but needs to take a step up in talent. Destroying an 18 – 14 fighter in Santos will do nothing for his legacy.
Former UFC fighter Paul Daley may be next in line for a title shot if he defeats Yuya Shirai at BAMMA 5 on February 26, but Daley is a boxer who has Muay Thai experience. Compared to Diaz, his boxing is amateur and I don’t see Daley’s Muay Thai affecting the champ. It may be an interesting lead up to a fight since both men like to talk smack, but it’s another lateral move for Diaz.
Diaz has world class boxing & a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu making him a tough match for anyone, inside or outside of Strikeforce. A fighter that would have a good chance of defeating Diaz needs to have serious BJJ knowledge & experience, as well as being a top level wrestler. The only way Diaz will see that kind of talent would be stepping into the Octagon to face the likes of Georges St-Pierre & Jon Fitch. I hope to see him in the UFC again some day so he can prove that he deserves to be mentioned with the GSP & Jake Shields of the world, but fighting in Strikeforce is a good paycheck. Too bad it doesn’t allow an accurate assessment of his talent.
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