"Ultimate risk-taker" Nick Diaz perfect for GSP

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Cesar Gracie: "Ultimate risk-taker" Nick Diaz perfect for GSP ? if the money's right

by Steven Marrocco on May 02, 2011 at 5:30 pm ET

Is Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz prepared to drop boxing to fight UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre?

The answer is yes. A qualified yes, trainer and manager Cesar Gracie today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).

The desire is there, he said. The storyline is there. The contractual hurdles? Not an issue, really, since the UFC purchased Strikeforce this past March. But there is one issue.

Gracie said Diaz is contractually allowed to box and is well into his preparation for a match against a high-profile pugilist, which could be former IBF super-middleweight champion Jeff Lacy and could come in the fall.

So Diaz needs to be persuaded to put down the 16-ounce gloves. Will a meeting with UFC brass change that?


This past week, UFC president Dana White said he will fly to Diaz's hometown of Stockton, Calif., presumably for a heart-to-heart with the chronically brash fighter on his future. Talk of a superfight between St-Pierre and Anderson Silva apparently has cooled following the champ's methodical dismantling of Jake Shields in the headliner of this past Saturday's UFC 129 event, and the idea of fight between the Strikeforce welterweight champion and the UFC champion has come into the picture.

Diaz is riding high following a recent explosive victory over Paul Daley in the third title defense of his Strikeforce belt.

Of a potential St-Pierre vs. Diaz showdown, White said this past Saturday, "It's an interesting fight."

Diaz predicted his longtime training partner Shields would beat St-Pierre and was cageside during the fight. The day prior at weigh-ins, White said Diaz and younger brother, UFC 129 fighter Nate Diaz, yelled obscenities at the crowd on their way backstage.

But that's par for the course for the brothers, who get consistent praise from White at the same time he laments their PR problem.

"They're unique individuals, those two," White said. "I like them. I like their attitudes. I like their styles. You've got to play the game a little bit, please. And please don't flip off fans and threaten to kick everyone's asses."

Diaz previously has attacked St-Pierre's rise in the UFC and said a fight with the welterweight champ is the only one in which he's interested. But he abruptly switched directions after his win over Daley when Gracie announced his fighter was closing in on a professional boxing match that was allowed by his new Strikeforce contract.

Shields' impending victory was also cited as a reason Diaz sought out boxing. But now that his prediction for a Shields win has been proven untrue, the stage is set for a change of heart.

"Obviously, there's a storyline behind it," Gracie said. "Shields just lost a decision, and Nick wants some revenge for that. Nick is very confident that he can defeat St-Pierre.

"He's a guy that could press the action against GSP and not let GSP dictate the pace. GSP has been a great champ, and hats off to him. But there has been criticism that he's not really taking risks. With Nick, you have the ultimate risk-taker. He will fight you at your game. He throws caution to the wind, really, because he's more interested in beating you up than winning on points. I think that makes for an intriguing matchup between the two."

But can it happen? Diaz is not only a Strikeforce fighter but a champion, and White previously said that he would not do crossover fights between promotions, regardless of the fact that UFC parent company Zuffa LLC now owns both properties.

Gracie thinks Zuffa can.

"Look, (UFC executive) Lorenzo (Fertitta) can do whatever he wants at this point," he said. "The guy signing the checks is the guy making the decisions. There's a couple of roadblocks, and I think the least of which is Nick's contract with Strikeforce. That would be a roadblock if we chose not to take the fight against Georges St-Pierre.

"But obviously, that wouldn't happen. The biggest thing is that Nick's Strikeforce contract dictates that he can box in 2011, and we've gone pretty far into that process. It's still a work in process, but we're just about there."

To reverse the process, Gracie said, is going to take convincing. And by convincing, he means a good deal.

"It would take Lorenzo and Dana to really come into this and show us how it could happen," Gracie said. "It would have to make financial sense for everybody. So, we're waiting just like everyone else to see what they have in mind, and I'm more than happy to listen to their suggestions."


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Give him 1 million dollars and a percentage of the PPV sales. Still, he would probably spend all of it on "food and stuff" in 2 weeks. Munchies are terrible.

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