If you haven’t heard by now, you’ll probably be excited to learn that former UFC welterweight No. 1 contender Nick Diaz has begun putting out feelers for a potential superfight with current 185-pound champion Anderson Silva.
The story first broke on GracieFighter.com with Diaz’s manager, Cesar Gracie, noting that Diaz “will respectfully ask for a fight with Anderson Silva, a fighter he respects and would like to challenge.”
To the surprise of absolutely no one, the Internet has quickly taken this story and run with it, creating a hype for a fight that, put quite simply, will not be happening—at least not anytime soon.
Don’t mistake this as anyone saying that this fight wouldn’t be interesting. It absolutely would be. Nick Diaz always creates a unique challenge for his opponents, and Anderson Silva is the king of figuring out the flaws in his opponents and exploiting them in dramatic fashion.
But that alone isn’t enough to make this fight happen.
Nick Diaz’s suspension doesn’t even run out until February 2013. Even if he were to get back in the cage immediately following the suspension, that will still mean that he has been out of active competition for over a year.
Does anyone really think that a fighter who has been out of the cage for an entire year, who lost his previous fight (even though some, including myself, would argue that decision), is ready to step into the cage with the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter on the planet?
Will the UFC match Anderson Silva against Nick Diaz upon Diaz's return?
While they don’t always make the right decision, they’re certainly batting a high percentage. They know when to promote certain fighters, what fights fans want to see and what fights make sense for them to provide at a given time.
Unfortunately for Diaz, at this moment in time, there really is no compelling reason for the UFC to book him in a fight against the top middleweight in the company other than perhaps a one-time pay-per-view payoff.
Gracie later explained that, for Diaz, the middleweight title is not the ultimate prize.
“It’s not about the title, we don’t want a title. If it were to be at 185 we don’t want the title,” Gracie told MiddleEasy.com. “Nick isn’t trying to be disrespectful to all the great middleweights out there, our camp doesn’t want that. There’s a lot of great middleweights out there that are in line for a title shot. This is about fighting, a superfight.”
Diaz and Gracie may very well be sincere in the statement that they do not want a title fight, but the problem is that, for the UFC, having Anderson Silva compete in non-title bouts is an extremely dangerous proposition.
They’ve done it before, but the UFC is risking a ton by having their 185-pound champion compete in non-title bouts, particularly if that bout takes place at 185 pounds.
For the other fighters, challenging Anderson Silva is about winning the title. However, it’s also about being the guy to finally beat Anderson Silva. That is a career-making win for someone like Chris Weidman or Michael Bisping, two of the current top contenders at 185 pounds.
Beating Anderson Silva in a title fight after he loses a fight to a natural welterweight just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
From a business standpoint, the Diaz-Silva fight just does not make sense. We all want to see it happen in the cage, but don’t hold your breath—it’s not going to happen.