Cesar Gracie Says Nick Diaz Wants Revenge for Shields Loss

Jordy McElroy@https://twitter.com/JordyMcElroyCorrespondent IMay 3, 2011

A week ago, the world was buzzing about Nick Diaz's possible professional boxing debut, but after watching his teammate and close friend Jake Shields drop a unanimous decision to welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre at UFC 129, the Stockton native is eager to slip back into a pair of four ounce gloves.

"Obviously, there's a storyline behind it," Diaz's trainer Cesar Gracie said in an interview with MMAJunkie.com.

"Shields just lost a decision, and Nick wants some revenge for that. Nick is very confident that he can defeat St-Pierre."

As Strikeforce welterweight champion, Diaz has amassed a 10 fight win streak and three consecutive title defenses. He has made multiple comments in the past about his dissatisfaction with the lack of competition and big payday.

Recently, he has turned his interest to the world of boxing and a plethora of possible debut opponents have already been rumored, including Fernando Vargas and IBF champion Jeff Lacy.

What would it take to keep Diaz under the MMA umbrella and set up a superfight with St-Pierre?

"Look, [UFC executive] Lorenzo [Fertitta] can do whatever he wants at this point. The guy signing the checks is the guy making the decisions," said Gracie.

"There's a couple of roadblocks, and I think the least of which is Nick's contract with Strikeforce. That would be a roadblock if we chose not to take the fight against Georges St-Pierre.

"But obviously, that wouldn't happen. The biggest thing is that Nick's Strikeforce contract dictates that he can box in 2011, and we've gone pretty far into that process. It's still a work in progress, but we're just about there."

A bout between St-Pierre and Diaz could instantly become a blockbuster. Diaz's aggressive style could force the UFC champion into some interesting positions, but does he have what it takes to succeed where Shields failed?

Skeptics would point out Diaz's previous struggles with strong wrestlers. Towards the end of his UFC tenure, he lost three consecutive bouts to Diego Sanchez, Sean Sherk and Joe Riggs.

St-Pierre is often considered the best wrestler in all of MMA.

It could be a tough style match-up for Diaz, who hasn't faced a high caliber wrestler since leaving the UFC, but Gracie isn't worried about skeptics. He believes that Diaz matches up well with St-Pierre, and a bout between the two could present fans with the intriguing welterweight title fight they've all been waiting for.

"[Nick's] a guy that could press the action against GSP and not let GSP dictate the pace. GSP has been a great champ, and hats off to him, but there has been criticism that he's not really taking risks," stated Gracie.

"With Nick, you have the ultimate risk-taker. He will fight you at your game. He throws caution to the wind, really, because he's more interested in beating you up than winning on points. I think that makes for an intriguing match-up between the two."

At the UFC 129 post-fight presser, UFC President Dana White seemed open to the possibility of a bout between St-Pierre and Diaz, but a few hurdles would have to be cleared for the fight to actually become a reality.

Diaz will likely continue in his pursuit of a professional boxing bout, unless he gets the lucrative MMA bout he's been waiting for.

"It would take Lorenzo and Dana to really come into this and show us how it could happen," said Gracie.

"It would have to make financial sense for everybody. So, we're waiting just like everybody else to see what they have in mind, and I'm more than happy to listen to their suggestions."