The retired MMA star attended the UFC event on Saturday night to witness the crowning of Georges St-Pierre’s successor. Hendricks emerged as the victor after surviving a 25-minute slugfest with Lawler.
Many thought the fight highlighted every overused cliche of combat sports. Blood, sweat, tears—Hendricks and Lawler left it all in the cage for a chance to etch their names in the eternal pages of history.
Then there are those like Diaz, a back-to-back retiree looking to hop back on the horse for his third consecutive crack at UFC gold. After watching UFC President Dana White ceremoniously wrapping the belt around Hendricks’ waist, the former Strikeforce welterweight champ couldn’t help but walk away feeling annoyed.
During an interview with Sportsnet Canada’s Joe Ferraro, Diaz categorized Hendricks’ performance as “amateur” level at best:
For once, [the UFC] bought me an actual ticket, and said, ‘Hey, we’d love to have you out.’ So I was like, ‘That’s new.’ I’m here and they start interviewing me, they actually want to hear me talk. Maybe they want me to fight Johny Hendricks. Take an ass-whooping, right to your face, bro, worse than tonight because you got your ass whooped all four rounds. I seen it, I seen the little amateur style...
Despite coming off back-to-back losses to St-Pierre and Carlos Condit, Diaz makes his case as the only bona fide superstar on the UFC’s welterweight roster available to pair with Hendricks. But the UFC would have to prioritize a big-money fight over a deserving list of contenders to get a deal done.
While Diaz plans on at least one fight this year, he isn’t looking to mix it up with other contenders in the division.
“I’m going to try to get a fight this year, talked to Dana, hardly, but he knows where my mind is at,” Diaz said. “That’s what’s up. I need a title fight, I need a real fight. They need to let the fans have what they want to see. That’s why I’m here, to get something going. No [Rory MacDonald, Hector Lombard, etc.].”
Diaz gets the golden-carpet treatment from the UFC at an event featuring the vacant welterweight title. Even the simplest of minds can see a possible coup coming a mile away.
Jordy McElroy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA writer for Rocktagon.