So the fight between Diaz and St-Pierre went down pretty much as expected last night, not that it didn’t have its moments when Nick was stuffing the infamous take downs in the 3rd round that made me wonder, “Is Nick trying to tire the conservative St-Pierre out and hoping to take it to him in the later rounds?”
Yet true to form, St-Pierre came back after each bell with his signature superman punches and double leg take downs and was able to nullify the nasty ground game of Nick with his superior strength and top control. By winning his 6th unanimous decision, scoring 50-45 on all of the judges’ cards, tying Matt Hughes for most wins in UFC history (18) and surpassing the Hall of Famer for most successful welterweight title defenses (8) – UFC 158 will be historic and remembered.
Like that wise old relative we all have used to say, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” If you’re St-Pierre and you can consecutively defend your belt by taking your opponent’s down almost at will and then win each round by out pointing and maintaining top position on your opponent while an entire nation cheers you on, why change?
Curiously enough, this was the first time I’ve heard St-Pierre’s corner tell him, “Don’t stand and strike with him.” Did Nick get inside of St-Pierre’s head? Maybe. One thing is certain: Diaz may have stubbornly made his point to St-Pierre that he couldn’t knock him out or submit him, but in the grand scheme of things, he did not make his mark in MMA history.
And as with all sports, it’s about entertainment and hype. There has to be a protagonist and an antagonist for any good story line, and that is what draws crowds and peaks our attention.
Did St-Pierre put on the worst beating on Diaz we have ever seen in the UFC? No.
Did Chael Sonnen pat Anderson Silva’s wife on the back side and force her to cook him a medium rare steak? No.
Did Frank Mir actually want Brock Lesnar “to be the first person that dies inside The Octagon”? No.
We have to remember that the UFC is a business, and none of these fighters are going to attempt to murder the other while he sleeps no matter how many threats are made. So Kudos to both of these fighters because they sparked interest in their fight and got all of us to watch it.
St-Pierre, as always, was magnanimous and classy in his post-fight interview, declaring himself a Nick Diaz fan and that Diaz is the best boxer in MMA. He asked Canada to be nice to him as he headed home. And once again Diaz announced his “retirement” from the sport of MMA claiming he’d been thinking of getting out of the sport for the last year. After his defeat to Carlos Condit, he said the same thing, but ironically in an interview later that night with Ariel Helwani, he asked for a rematch. So it remains to be seen whether Diaz will be back again in the future, but why would he try to go for another crack at the belt when a rematch would probably look exactly like the 1st fight? This is my only question.
I hope Diaz doesn’t quit the sport of MMA. We need more Josh Koscheck’s, Diaz brothers and Chael Sonnen’s to keep this sport engaging and entertaining.
In general, I’ve learned to never be too quick to judge people with skill. Anybody you meet with serious skill in any field will also have discipline. And to have discipline, respect must play a role. It’s a guarantee that someone who completely lacks respect has to be lacking in skill. The old adage of not judging a book by its cover is never more relevant than when one looks at the face of Nick Diaz, but even he showed it is impossible to have complete disrespect for someone who goes through the same grueling training, diet and sparing as you do. And Nick showed that by raising St-Pierre’s hand over his head and admitting St-Pierre is an excellent champion and was thankful for the opportunity to fight him. Sure Nick lacks respect in many ways and isn’t a role model you’d want for your kids. But this last gesture is one you have to agree with.