(You don’t want any part of this, Nick. No part whatsoever. / Photo courtesy of ESPN.)
It’s official: Nick Diaz vs. Jason Miller ain’t happening, at least not in the near future. With both sides failing to come to an agreement on weight class, Strikeforce has decided to move on with their welterweight champion, reportedly booking Diaz to defend his belt against Chute Boxe veteran Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos. The fight is expected to take place on the January 29th San Jose card that will also feature the middleweight title fight between Ronaldo "Grappler" Souza vs. Robbie "Striker" Lawler.
Diaz has won his last eight fights — most recently coming out on top in his revenge match against KJ Noons — and is generally considered the greatest 170-pounder outside of the UFC. He’ll be an enormous favorite over Santos, who’s just 1-0 as a welterweight, thanks to his first-round TKO of Marius Zaromskis at Strikeforce: Los Angeles. Prior to that fight, Cyborg compiled a journeyman’s record of 17-13 as a middleweight, and lost his Strikeforce debut to Joey Villasenor by decision.
As is customary whenever we report on a Strikeforce fight-booking, we now feel obligated to bitch about how this match doesn’t really make sense. Even if he just fought two-and-a-half weeks ago, it seems that Paul Daley would be the logical choice for Diaz’s next title defense, being that he’s more highly regarded than Santos, and arguably a lot more dangerous. What’s more, Nick Diaz’s camp specifically wanted a fight with Daley.
Still, Semtex himself recently claimed that he wasn’t interested in a fight with Diaz until the summer, looking instead to a fight that would "qualify" him for a title shot. (How mature of you, Paul.) And so, Strikeforce is giving the title shot to somebody else who really hasn’t qualified for it at all. But hey, at least Nick Diaz is fighting on a regular schedule. I know some Russians who could take a page out of his book.