GSP vs. Diaz: What's at Stake for Nick Diaz at UFC 158?

Sean SmithAnalyst IMarch 15, 2013

Mar 15, 2013; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Nick Diaz during the weight-in for UFC 158 at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Georges St-Pierre has given Nick Diaz a golden opportunity. 

Had St-Pierre not been so angry with Diaz to request a fight with the polarizing Californian, it would have been far from a guarantee that Diaz would have ever earned another chance to compete for UFC gold.

In his last appearance, Diaz was defeated by Carlos Condit, seemingly leaving himself at least a couple wins away from a title shot. However, even after a year-long suspension, Diaz instead finds himself battling for the belt without picking up a single victory following that Condit loss.

Even though it would appear Diaz has nothing to lose by being given this chance to fight St-Pierre, there is a lot at stake for the former Strikeforce champion at UFC 158.

Diaz has been asking for this fight with the Canadian titleholder for years, and he's talked plenty of trash about St-Pierre in addition. If he doesn't provide some sort of challenge for St-Pierre, Saturday would mark one of the lowest points in Diaz's long MMA career.

It was rescinded somewhat quickly, but a frustrated Diaz did hint at retirement following his controversial loss to Condit in February 2012. 

Having considered retirement for much less, a loss at UFC 158 could spell the end of a career for one of the sport's most colorful characters. Then again, upset St-Pierre in Saturday's main event and things could just be getting started for the 29-year-old.

Diaz has always been vocal about his displeasure about the lack of exposure he receives in the media and amount of pay he receives for his fights. His outtake on the financial possibilities of MMA could change drastically should he become a UFC champion.

If UFC president Dana White straps a UFC belt around Diaz's waist Saturday, it could be the beginning of a renaissance for the welterweight division.

Of course, there could be some middle ground, but the fact that becoming champion and announcing retirement are both real possibilities for Diaz at the end of UFC 158 shows just how unpredictable the Cesar Gracie-trained fighter has been.