As you might expect, with Diaz, GSP and UFC president Dana White together at the podium, there were some interesting insights and plenty of juicy takeaways. Here are my top five.
Maybe it was just me, but Nick Diaz was as cool, calm and collected as I've ever seen him when in front of the media. Gone was the brutal (and often hilarious) honesty with which Diaz has sometimes answered questions in the past. Gone, too, was the adversarial stance and the mumbling answers. In their place was a more articulate, more thoughtful, more expansive Diaz.
A sampling: When asked about his preparation for GSP's wrestling, Diaz responded that "I've been training to fight Matt Hughes since I was 18 years old." When questioned on his history of skipping pressers, he noted that "I learned my lesson."
The humor was still evident. Asked to give his thoughts on Montreal as the setting for the fight, Diaz failed to take the bait and rail against the UFC for giving St-Pierre home-field advantage. Rather, he joked that he was excited because "they don’t test for steroids here." When White quickly interjected that "they test for everything here," Diaz said "that's good to know, too." Hi-larious.
Now, see, that's just not accurate.
GSP seemed to be unaware of, apathetic to or simply in denial over the public outcry that erupted when GSP called for Diaz rather than accepting a fight with Johny Hendricks, who many people (including Hendricks himself) believed was next in line.
St-Pierre also noted of Diaz that:
"I truly believe he's the No. 1 contender right now in the division. I want to fight the guy who's ranked the best. And I believe Nick Diaz is the best."
Hey, it's your world, GSP. I'm just buying the pay-per-views.
When given multiple, multiple opportunities to do so, both St-Pierre and Diaz refused to add any fuel whatsoever to their long-simmering rivalry. If anything, they were kicking dirt and ice cubes and Halon on it.
At one point, toward the end of the conference, a possibly disappointed media member asked them both point blank to name one thing they disliked about the other.
Diaz responded first: "I like my opponent. That's why I want to fight him. He's the guy to beat...I could've maybe gotten the fight a little sooner."
Then it was GSP's turn: "He wants what I have. It's my title. That's what I don't like. We all do that because we want to be No. 1. There's a lot of tension, but in 20 years when we look back if we see each other in the street I'm not going to be angry."
So it's not a grudge match, and in the eyes of many, it's not a title defense against the No. 1 contender. So what, exactly, do we have here?
Dana White noted that the reality show will head north of the border some time in 2013. "We're working on that right now," White said.
How about a GSP-Rory MacDonald coaching matchup? I believe I would watch that.
St-Pierre said he didn't know much about UFC women's champ Ronda Rousey's regular stream of trash talk. However, he did respond to a recent, somewhat back-handed compliment from Rousey that GSP might not be where he was today if not for his looks:
"It's very flattering for her to say that I'm a good-looking guy, and I want to say she's a very beautiful woman as well."
Glad we got that on the record.