Is Nick Diaz Really a Big Threat to Georges St-Pierre?
If you ask most fans of the sport today, they'll tell you that Nick Diaz is the biggest threat to Georges St-Pierre's welterweight throne.
But is that truly the case?
Fans will say that Nick Diaz offers a threat to St-Pierre because Diaz is dangerous both on the feet with his boxing, and off his back with his vaunted Cesar Gracie Jiu Jitsu.
Diaz is perhaps the most interesting challenger to St-Pierre, but that's only because St-Pierre has already seemingly faced the kind of "wrestler with knockout power" that most though was dangerous, but proved not to be in the case of Josh Koscheck.
There are two bad assumptions here.
First of all, while we haven't exactly seen St-Pierre against a fighter quite like Diaz, we've most certainly seen St-Pierre dominate high level BJJ practitioners on the floor.
BJ Penn is a far more accomplished BJJ practitioner than Diaz, but he offered St-Pierre absolutely nothing once the fight hit the floor. Jason Miller was thought to be a tough matchup for St-Pierre on the floor, but GSP ran roughshod all over Miller's guard.
On the other side of the debate is Diaz, who despite a 10-fight win streak, has faced not a single credible grappling/wrestling threat during that span. While Diaz was in the UFC, he faced lots of great grapplers (though none nearly as good as St-Pierre) and came up short on nearly every occasion.
So despite the fact that they haven't faced each other, we know exactly how well St-Pierre does against fighters who can't wrestle, and until Diaz proves differently, we've got lots of evidence of how well Diaz does when facing a guy like St-Pierre, who can take him down whenever he wants.
The second bad assumption is that St-Pierre cannot be beaten by a wrestler with knockout power.
While it's true that Koscheck had no success against St-Pierre, Koscheck isn't all that great of a striker to begin with. Koscheck has one punch, the looping overhand right, and when St-Pierre prepared for that punch, Koscheck had nothing left to offer on the feet.
However, when Koscheck focused on his wrestling, we did find that St-Pierre had a very difficult time in taking him down. Koscheck spent mere seconds on the floor in their rematch, and even Jon Fitch was able to stuff many of St-Pierre's takedowns even after the beating he took in the first round.
With fighters like Jake Ellenberger and Anthony Johnson, who are both far more credible threats on the feet than Josh Koscheck, it seems to me far too early to write off the idea that a good wrestler with knockout power isn't still the most likely type of fighter to beat St-Pierre.
Until Diaz beats a wrestler like a Josh Koscheck or a Jon Fitch, there's no real reason to expect that he stands even the slightest chance of beating St-Pierre.
Meanwhile, it's silly for St-Pierre to wait for Diaz. The winner of next month's fight between Anthony Johnson and Nate Marquardt is a more credible threat than Diaz right now, and given how inactive St-Pierre has been in recent years, the UFC should book that kind of fight rather than keeping St-Pierre waiting for some imagined savior to emerge.
That's unless they're ready to make St-Pierre fight Anderson Silva.
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