Comfortably positioned as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters not signed to the UFC, Nick Diaz gets yet another opportunity to prove that, when he meets DREAM welterweight champion Marius Zaromskis for the Strikeforce 170-pound belt on January 30th.
Spending time recently as a lightweight and fighting his last two fights at catch weights, the 26-year-old Stockton, California resident is ready to take the lead in the welterweight division as well. He will have to get by one of the best “unknown” fighters signed to a Strikeforce contract to do just that.
Diaz has paid his MMA dues, fighting 10 times with the UFC, four times for Elite XC, twice in Japan, and two more times for Strikeforce, not to mention his series of fights that he compiled prior to joining the “majors.” He has been inside the cage with stars like Robbie Lawler, Diego Sanchez, Sean Sherk, and Frank Shamrock. Needless to say, cage experience is not something he lacks. So, what would Diaz have to gain from fighting a relative unknown to many American fans?
One reason for taking the fight with Zaromskis is simple; any fight for a belt stands to help a fighter—even one of Diaz’ stature. Diaz has already been in possession of the IFC and WEC welterweight belts; however they were both on a much smaller scale and at the beginning of his career.
His only other title opportunity (November 2007) was crushed when KJ Noons opened a cut on his face causing the referee to deny him the Elite XC lightweight title. It would be hard to believe that he doesn’t want to be the man being chased rather tan the other way around.
While a victory opens many new avenues for Diaz, a loss to a lesser known Zaromskis would be quite devastating to his career. Riding the strength of a five-fight win streak and quite possibly on the verge of a big contract, taking this fight with “The Whitemare” is dangerous. His ability to stand and trade with Diaz is scary, in fact, if Zaromskis is able to get one of his head kicks through, it may hurt more than his chances at a big pay day. A loss of any kind would not mark the end of Nick Diaz, however will put a major wrench in his plans for any type of championship run.
Nick Diaz will always be an entertaining fighter to watch and this fight should be no different. However, he will have to be careful on January 30th because although his opponent is not well known just yet, he is well on his way. Seasoned beyond his years, Diaz knows exactly who he is fighting and what it would mean to defeat him. It seems to me that this fight makes perfect sense.