Nick Diaz: Is the Strikeforce Champion the Antithesis of Georges St-Pierre?

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Nick Diaz: Is the Strikeforce Champion the Antithesis of Georges St-Pierre?

Nick Diaz and Georges St-Pierre are two mixed martial arts champions that could not be more different in their overall approach to the sport.

These two fighters seem to have exactly two things in common.

First is the fact that they both hold welterweight titles—Diaz in Strikeforce and St-Pierre in the UFC.

The other is that they have both almost completely exhausted the competition that each of their promotions has to offer them. Diaz has won 10 consecutive fights, while St-Pierre has won eight straight.

Diaz recently defeated Paul Daley and is currently looking for a worthy opponent, while St-Pierre will meet Jake Shields, the man who may be the last legitimate contender for his title at UFC 129 on April 30.

To compare the two seems appropriate since, on more than one occasion, Diaz has bemoaned the fact that he is not paid nearly as well as his UFC counterpart.

When one takes a look at the two fighters, however, it’s easy to see that they could not be more different.

Both men have extremely loyal fan bases, but Diaz also has an equally large number of MMA fans that revile him—and while you can find fans that dislike St-Pierre, you would be hard pressed to find many that can profess an honest hatred for the man.

Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

Diaz, on the other hand, has no problems eliciting feelings that strong.

It seems as if every time that Diaz’s name is uttered outside of fight night, it's preceded by some type of indignation.

“Did you see what Diaz did last night?” or perhaps, “Did you hear what Diaz said in the interview he gave to…?” 

When is the last time St-Pierre ever did anything approaching controversial?

The only incident that comes to mind was when he stepped into the Octagon and uncomfortably told Matt Hughes, “I am unimpressed by your performance.”

As far as Diaz is concerned, you can run the gamut from disparaging the organization that pays his bills to getting into a fight at a hospital with the same man he fought inside the Octagon that night.

When it comes to press duties, St-Pierre seems more than willing to sell himself, his organization and his sport. He’s charming, well-groomed, well-dressed and uncontroversial—a dream spokesman for any potential sponsor.

Diaz, when he can be bothered to step away from his training, is at best aloof.

At his worst, he tends to come across as angry, persecuted and paranoid—lashing out at any and all slights, real or imagined. He often takes extended periods of time to never truly answer the question that has been put forth to him.

In short, he is unpredictable; exactly the type of athlete that a big name sponsor takes pains to avoid.

Inside the cage, they take opposite approaches as well.

St-Pierre tailors his fight plans in a way that exploits his opponent’s weaknesses. He and his team study each opponent and craft a game plan specific to that opponent, making many of St-Pierre’s flawlessly executed victories seem almost easy.

Diaz eschews that approach. Instead of looking to his opponent’s weakness, he looks to his opponent’s strength, as if to test his abilities or to show his foe that while they may perceive that they have an advantage over him in a specific discipline, they are sadly mistaken.

A recent example of this would be Diaz’s fight with Paul Daley.

The general consensus going into the bout was that Diaz would be a fool to stand with Daley, a proven knockout artist—but that is exactly what Diaz did. He earned a first-round TKO over Daley.

To borrow a line from UFC president Dana White, Georges St. Pierre has learned how to “play the game,” and has been handsomely rewarded for doing so. He has become an international star.

Diaz, meanwhile, “Could be a big star if he would just calm down a little bit and not be so angry with everybody,” White told MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani. Instead, he toils away at the fringes, tilting at windmills.

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