Six years ago this week, MMA got its benchmark for the best five minutes imaginable.
Strikeforce, a promotion that was the closest thing the UFC had to a North American competitor at the time, took to the airwaves with Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley and, appropriately, matched Nick Diaz against Paul Daley in the main event.
The lead-up was glorious, as is usually the case with any bout involving Diaz. There was heated trash talk, mean-mugging, threats and obvious intention to do harm, but the brash Brit opposing him was up to the task. Daley, a knockout artist in his own right, appeared hellbent on showing the world that the dominance of Diaz—a winner of nine in a row coming into their bout—was a mirage.
Most felt Diaz had an easy path to victory if he were to score a takedown on Daley, a fantastic, explosive kickboxer with limited ground skills. Diaz, however, elected to keep the fight upright to prove he could outstrike one of the top 170-pound strikers alive if for no other reason than that most felt it wasn’t an optimal path to victory for him.
The results were sublime.
For five minutes, the two men snarled and swung, whirling around the cage and landing shots from every angle. Both were dropped and recovered, Daley’s power being proved the realest of real and Diaz’s volume eventually overwhelming his man after his chin kept him in it on a number of occasions.
It is essentially an objectively proven fact that, when Diaz got his hand raised at the end of the tilt, he was being named the victor of the best single-round fight in the history of MMA.
Check out the entire, chaotic round below.