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Why Nick Diaz Has Everything to Lose Against Anderson Silva at UFC 183

(Silva vs. Diaz fan-made poster, via Shawn James)

By legendary CagePotato commenter/lurker “Old, Bald and Irish”

Of all of the upcoming matchups on the horizon for the UFC, one of them stands above the rest: Nick Diaz versus Anderson Silva at UFC 183.

Now, if this match happened two years ago, the hype would be off the charts. But today, the MMA community is looking at this event with curiosity rather than fevered passion. Sure. Eyeballs will be on this fight — mostly to see what Anderson Silva will look like in the ring following his horrific injury. But Nick Diaz as his opponent? Eh…maybe not so much.

What the hell happened?

It was just a short year-and-a-half ago when the MMA world was going wild for UFC 158: St-Pierre vs. Diaz (aka UFC 158: CANADA!…America’s Hat). This was MMA alchemy at its finest. Georges had defended his belt seven times and was clearly the king of his weight class. Nick was the trash talkin’, dope smokin’, Nashville brawlin’ fanboy favorite.

UFC 158 pulled in 950,000 pay-per-view buys. Not too shabby, especially compared to the buyrates the UFC has been pulling in lately. Both guys had hardcore MMA fan heat going in, but after St-Pierre dismantled Diaz, it proved what we pretty much knew going into the fight: Georges is a better wrestler, striker and tactician than Diaz. Period.

After beating up a past-his-prime BJ Penn, the “super fight” with St. Pierre did nothing to help Nick’s reputation. Quite the contrary, it damaged it even more and showed why Diaz isn’t on anyone’s Top 10 P4P list anymore. Now, after retiring “for realz” and spending nearly two years out of the cage (*COUGH* “ring rust” *COUGH*) Diaz is coming back to take on one of, if not the, greatest fighter in MMA history. What?

I’m looking for Nick’s silver lining, but short of a pot-fueled-double-middle-fingered-gogoplata or a pants-shitting-KO, I don’t see an upside for the scrappy pugilist from Stockton. Let’s take a few moments to be negative bastards and look at the probable and unfortunate near-future for the elder Diaz…

Three is the Magic Number

If Diaz drops his fight with Silva, that will make him 1-3 in the UFC since 2011…with those three losses being consecutive. Three losses in a row. Historically speaking, that never sits too well with the UFC brass.

Now, if you’re an “entertaining fighter that always comes to bang” (see Dan Hardy) and you’re on Dana’s good side (assuming he has one?), you may get a pass. While Diaz is most certainly an entertaining fighter, Nick is closer to winning an elocution award than getting on Dana’s good side.

If the mood hit Dana White, cutting Diaz a la Shields/Okami/Fitch, would not be too much of a stretch.

Sayonara Superfights

Nick has stated that after 16 years of pro fighting, he’s “retired from ‘climbing ropes.’” Nick stated “I’m not doing anybody any favors and I’m not doing myself a favor by taking a fight I’m not happy with.” And true happiness, as Diaz sees it, is any fight where he’s getting paid $500,000 or more.

That’s all fine and dandy, but if Diaz gets his ass handed to him by Anderson Silva, he could find himself as the new past-his-prime BJ Penn.

Potentially, after three consecutive defeats to top UFC talent, how much heat will be left around for Diaz? At best, he’ll take on a gatekeeper status. At worst, he will appear as a joke calling out talent that is way above his perceived skill set.

I mean, do you think Dana White is gonna do anything to help boost Diaz’s status? Hell…the UFC can’t even push their champions properly. Do you think they’re gonna lift a finger for Nick unless there are biiiig dollar signs attached?

And who is going to want to fight Diaz? A fight with Nick won’t “move the needle”* like it used to. Your top 10 won’t be interested.

Nick’s literal pipe-dream of half-million dollar super fights? Kiss that shit good bye…

Anderson Silva

Nick Diaz getting his ass kicked by a fighter coming off of a two-fight losing streak and a year-long layoff from the cage thanks to one of the most devastating leg injuries in UFC history is a bad look, no matter who that fighter is. And what does Diaz prove if he actually does beat Silva? Everyone will scream that it was a fluke, that there is no way Anderson could have been 100% going into that fight, that Chris Weidman had already taken the Spider’s soul.

For Diaz, it’s truly a lose/lose situation.

It’s pretty clear: Nick took the fight for the paycheck. At the moment, that may have seemed like a good idea. But the impact on his legacy and further career advancement may eventually outweigh that decision.


- O.B.I.

*I’m proposing a CagePotato ban on the term “moving the needle”.

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