Imagine you're a fighter in a well-known Mixed Martial Arts organization. You've amassed a record of 24 wins, seven losses and one no contest. Not only are you skilled at what you do, but you're the reigning champion of your weight division. Life would seem pretty good right?
Well, not if your name is Nicholas Robert Diaz.
Love him or hate him—unfortunately for Diaz, many choose to go with the latter—Nick Diaz is Strikeforce's welterweight king, and there doesn't seem to be anyone in the organization who can beat the Stockton, California native.
Since defeating Marius Zaromskis last January to become the organization's first champion at 170 lbs., Diaz has had two successful title defenses: against K.J. Noons and just recently with Evangelista Santos aka Cyborg.
So why doesn't a man whose punching output rivals that of some professional boxers fail to earn the same respect and adulation as his UFC counterpart Georges St-Pierre? Simple, it's the competition.
When I say competition, I don't just mean it from the standpoint of who Diaz is facing a few times per year in the cage. I'm also alluding to the fact that for all of his hard work and dedication to being the best fighter he can be, from a casual MMA fan's standpoint, Diaz will never be regarded as anything but a slightly above average welterweight in a subpar promotion.
Let's face it, the UFC makes stars while Strikeforce brings you fighters. The differences are staggering. A card whose main event features Georges St.-Pierre can simply stand on its own and bring much higher numbers than a Strikeforce card that is stacked to the rafters with great matchups.
Why is this the case? Well, because the UFC—especially in the Zuffa era—is known throughout the sport as the quintessential "Big Show," and that's what draws fighters from all over the world to go there.
Diaz had an average going during his time in the UFC, amassing a 6-4 record before moving on to the now-defunct Elite XC and then Strikeforce.
With his last fight in UFC taking place nearly five years ago, Diaz looks like a completely different fighter. His punches-in-bunches style of fighting and stellar ground game make him look like a pretty formidable champion, but the question remains as to how he would stack up against welterweights in the UFC.
Could he beat a Josh Koscheck? Would Jon Fitch ground him and grind him out for three rounds? Could he tap out BJ Penn? Would he finally get his wish and take on GSP?
So many questions and only one key answer stands...in order for Diaz to be considered a respectable fighter, he needs to get back into the UFC as soon as possible because a Strikeforce Championship Belt is simply saying that your the best fighter for the second-best promotion around.