This Saturday Night: Georges St-Pierre vs Nick Diaz


This Saturday night, after years of hype and buzz, GSP will finally step into the cage with Nick Diaz. The longtime UFC welterweight champion returns to Montreal to attempt an 8th successful defense of his crown.

GSP was last seen in the cage on November of 2012, defeating Carlos Condit via unanimous decision. Before the GSP-Condit fight, I observed whether or not GSP’s ACL issues could play a role in the fight with Condit. With the exception of eating a headkick in the third stanza, GSP did what GSP always does. For Diaz, his last fight was also a five rounder against Condit (February 2012). It was a competitive fight that showed a weaknesses in Diaz’s style. Maybe if Diaz would have adjusted better to Condit’s strategy or been more aggressive for the takedown (he finally got one and easily took Condit’s back at the end) it would have gone to Diaz. But it didn’t and Condit walked away with the interim strap that night. Before the decision loss to Condit, Diaz had gone on a 11-fight win streak.

The biggest issue with the fight will obviously be the wrestling. I did love Diaz’s take on the criticism he received for not facing wrestlers in non-Zuffa promotions between 2007-2011. Diaz looked at it differently and from a unique angle. He said he was facing the strikers, the hard hitters, the type of fighters that could give you brain damage. The type of fights that take years off your career and maybe even your life. Against KO artists like Gomi (2007), Zaromskis (2010), and Daley (2011), Diaz shined in nasty, brawling affairs. He suffered knockdowns in all those fights but he came back and put those fighters away in memorable fashion. Unfortunately for Diaz and Diaz fans, GSP is not going to want to fight one of those fights. The most recent good, takedown fighter that Diaz has fought has been BJ Penn. Penn took him down in the first frame, Diaz defended well and got back up. In his previous fight, Penn had also taken down Jon Fitch, so that gives you an idea of Penn’s capabilities at the time. It’s hard to truly determine how good Diaz’s takedown defense and ability to scramble back up has gotten up to this point. Based on that brief moment with Penn, I think it’s improved but GSP is not BJ Penn. I think not every takedown attempt will be successful but I think most of GSP’s takedowns will work against Diaz. As far as the striking goes, if GSP has the right strategy and is able to executed flawlessly, he could frustrate Diaz like Condit did. If Diaz somehow manages to fight his type of fight, that would be incredible and it would really put GSP at risk. If GSP is aggressive and tries to go for the finish, he can make himself vulnerable. Diaz as UFC welterweight champion would be one of the greatest moments ever. Logic says GSP, but the heart says Diaz.

The co-feature of the evening will be a great fight between Carlos Condit and Johny Hendricks. The last four opponents that Hendricks has defeated are Mike Pierce, Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, and Martin Kampmann. I think he is the clear number two welterweight in the world. Condit was smart and efficient in his bout with Diaz. Also, while Condit lost those four rounds to GSP, he came close to finishing him in the third.

If we see a striking-based fight, and the Condit that fought Diaz shows up, Hendricks will have a difficult time catching Condit with a clean shot. Condit has the pure striking advantage and superior technique. But it is true that Hendricks has the power to score a knockdown or knockout at any point. I am curious if Hendricks will make any attempt at taking the fight to the mat. In Condit’s fights with Kim and Ellenberger, he displayed some awesome sweeps off his back. Would he be able to sweep Hendricks if the wrestler exploits Condit’s takedown defense weakness? I think this could be the closest and most competitive fight on this entire card. Almost makes me wish it was five rounds too. If Condit wins, UFC loses a fresh, title challenger in Hendricks. If Hendricks wins, he’ll add another elite welterweight to his list of victims.

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