Cesar Gracie: Silva's Chin Isn't Great Anymore, Nick Diaz Can Win with Striking

John Heinis@HeinisHardNewsSenior Analyst IJuly 30, 2014

Nick Diaz, right, and Cesar Gracie stand in the corner of Nate Diaz before a UFC lightweight mixed martial arts fight between Nate Diaz and Josh Thomson in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, April 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Former Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz has a tall task ahead of him when he welcomes ex-UFC middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva back to the Octagon on January 31, but his head coach can easily see him winning the fight.

The UFC turned the fight world on its head Tuesday by announcing the matchup, and Cesar Gracie has followed up with MMA Fighting since then to give his analysis on the bout: 

Nick is better on the ground, his jiu-jitsu is better, but I believe it’s going to be a standup fight and it won’t last five rounds. I think it will be over before five rounds, someone will get knocked out. Nick is hard to knock out, he was knocked out only once in the beginning of his career. Anderson is bigger than Nick, but he’s turning 40 now and his chin is not the same anymore. If Nick can get in there and punch him, I think he wins this fight.

Diaz, who turns 31 years old on Saturday, will have not fought for over 22 months by the time he squares off with The Spider at UFC 183, the company's annual Super Bowl weekend pay-per-view. 

The Cesar Gracie Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt has lost his past two fights: an interim welterweight title bout against Carlos Condit at UFC 143 in February 2012 and a championship bout against Georges St-Pierre at UFC 158 in March of last year. 

Diaz retired after the lopsided loss to St-Pierre, though in a conference call on Wednesday afternoon, the Stockton bad boy stated that he should have never said he was hanging the gloves up for good, per Adam Guillen Jr. of MMA Mania

Silva, who holds the UFC record with 10 successful title defenses of the middleweight strap between October 2006 and July 2013, is now improbably on a two-fight losing streak himself. 

The legendary Brazilian striker finally lost the middleweight title to Chris Weidman at UFC 162 last July, where he was knocked out cold for the first time in his career in the midst of excessive taunting and showboating. 

The 39-year-old did not fare much better in the rematch at UFC 168 in December, as he suffered a horrific leg break when the champ checked a hard leg kick. 

Rumors of Diaz and Silva squaring off have swirled for months but really began to pick up steam last week when Diaz signed a three-fight contract extension with the UFC, per MMA Fighting

Despite the recent shortcomings against top-tier competition, on top of fighting at middleweight for the first time in his career, could Diaz do the unthinkable and knock out Silva at UFC 183?


John Heinis is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA editor for eDraft.com.