Nick Diaz was not impressed with his own performance against Georges St. Pierre. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
By the time Nick Diaz steps into the Octagon against Anderson Silva on Jan. 31, he will be nearly two years removed from his loss to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 158.
But no matter how far in the rearview mirror that loss may be, the retired former welterweight champion is never far from Diaz’s thoughts. Even now, when the Stockton, Calif., native looks back on that March 17, 2013 bout against St. Pierre at the Bell Centre in Montreal, he feels like he could have performed much better than he did.
“I didn’t feel the fullest of my potential my last fight,” Diaz said during a UFC conference call on Thursday. “.... For whatever reason I came out really flat, not a good warmup. I usually have really good warmups. No sweat. Couldn’t get warmed up. It just didn’t feel great.”
Diaz ultimately lost a five-round verdict to St. Pierre and temporarily retired after the bout. He stayed on the sidelines until this past summer, when he emerged from his hiatus to sign a three-fight extension with the UFC. His comeback fight against Silva at UFC 183 will be at middleweight instead of welterweight, however.
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The former Strikeforce champion hopes that moving up a weight class can prevent some of the issues that he says plagued him against St. Pierre.
“I think that might eliminate that problem for the most part,” he said. “Not that I can’t come out to the fullest of my potential at 170 pounds. I think I can do that. Things didn’t work out as well as they could for me the last time around.”
While Diaz has spent the majority of his career at 170 pounds, he does have previous experience competing at a heavier weight. The Cesar Gracie product fought Frank Shamrock and Scott Smith in Strikeforce at catch-weights -- Shamrock at 179 pounds, Smith at 180 -- with positive results: Diaz won both bouts via second-round TKO.
Diaz says that if he’s maintaining an active schedule, consistently making 170 pounds will have an effect on his performance. When he faced Shamrock and Smith, he felt significantly better on fight night.
“I had less problems with energy. When I fight at 170, especially if I fight three times a year, I can’t say I’m gonna be 100 percent at one of those fights. I’m never really 100 percent at any of those fights,” Diaz said. “It’s so hard to have perfect preparation for fighting and cutting weigh, and being in the best shape for training camp and to make that cut. When you have a fight a few months before that -- you fight three times a year -- it’s hard to do that three times in a year. I came up more to my potential, athleticism and strength in those fights [against Shamrock and Smith].”
With less than two weeks remaining before his showdown with Silva, Diaz admits that he’s felt “stronger and more energetic” in camp. However, he is undecided if he is willing to make middleweight his permanent residence.
“I’ve got to survive this fight before I decide what I’m gonna do,” he said. “After that I’ll probably see how things look.”
For now, it appears that Diaz is most interested in taking the biggest, most lucrative fights available. Whether that includes a title shot at any weight class is less of a priority.
“At this point in time they’re gonna use me to fight the most important guy. Because these guys you got out there right now, they’re not really shining too hard,” Diaz said. “They’ll use me anytime they need a guy for a big fight. They need a real fighter that fights the way they want to see. All they gotta do is make a deal with me.”
Of course, if St. Pierre ever decides to return to MMA, Diaz would definitely be open to discussing a rematch.
You got a lot of good fighters out there. It’s just that I’ve been around for a while, I already built a fan base ....so they’re gonna want to use me. For a big show or just a medium show they’re gonna want to use me,” he said. “If we make a deal for a fight, then I fight. Otherwise it’s not about fighting for a title. If I have the title, it’s because I decided to take a fight. It’s not about winning the belt. I already fought some of the best people there are. I already did what I need to do for me. Now it’s just more about having the right fight, making the right deal. The guys that I’ve beat are already the best there are.
“For Georges St. Pierre, if we could have another fight, then maybe I would take a fight. For the belt, it’s not. For the UFC and the fans if they want the fight, then they’ll make a deal and we’ll fight.”