Last night at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada, controversial welterweight Nick Diaz used aggression and technique to defeat former UFC poster boy BJ Penn. Prior to the bout, this was a near pick em fight, as both men were considered to have highly similar skills. The most common prediction was that Penn had to win early, and that Diaz had superior conditioning and would likely win the later rounds and a decision. There were question about BJ’s ability to keep up with Diaz.
Well for a bout where the predictions were spot on, it was still a highly dramatic and entertaining bout. The fallout from this fight are huge, so let’s take a look.
First of all, there is word heading out of Vegas that Carlos Condit will not be facing Georges St Pierre upon his return. Due to his performance in the cage and on the mic, it will be Nick Diaz who faces St Pierre on Super Bowl weekend. Unfortunate for Carlos, who played good soldier throughout this, but I thought it was a really bad sign that they never showed Condit on camera at the show. Was he even there? If he was I missed it, but he really got no love, like the UFC was holding back just a bit. Now he gets to possibly face Jon Fitch. Perhaps they can have a nice talk about being ignored by the UFC, and they may become good friends.
To his credit, Diaz did a good job during the media blitz throughout the week. He was subdued, but he never came across as fake. In the ring he did find his ‘inner Diaz’ and fight pissed and that will always be the best of Nick Diaz when he fights. He is going to need a little bit of help with the hype. After the fight, his coach Cesar Gracie could be clearly heard telling Nick for the post fight interview ‘Call out Georges, call that mother fucker out’ or something to that extent.
It seems to me that St Pierre pulled out of a match with Carlos Condit due to injury, how that amounts to him being scared of Nick Diaz is a mystery. But Diaz accused St Pierre of being scared and the crowd reacted, so Diaz hops over Condit.
The other big fallout was the apparent retirement of BJ Penn. I hope he does retire, it would be dignified. In the ring he expressed that he always wanted to compete at the top level. The implication is that there is now a level above him, that he recognizes that he isn’t there anymore.
Where will the odds open for GSP-Diaz after this performance? It will be interesting to see. But you read it hear first – Nick Diaz has a chance, he has an open window to be the biggest star the UFC has made yet. He is an unbelievable fighter and his anti-hero persona is genuine. If he beats St Pierre, then by the summer of 2012 you are looking at the most famous fighter in all of MMA history in Nick Diaz. You read it here first.