UFC 137 Results: 5 Questions We Still Have About Nick Diaz
Nick Diaz deserves a ton of credit for giving B.J. Penn perhaps the worst beatdown of his career, including the steamrolling that was UFC 94.
After dropping a competitive first round, Diaz broke Penn's spirit in the second round in a way that many analysts didn't think possible, especially not that early in the fight.
Although the third round was more competitive, Diaz walked through Penn's best punches and dished out far worse.
That said, while B.J. Penn is certainly a sterling name on Diaz's resume, he's not exactly the best gauge for the cream of the crop in the welterweight division and most certainly isn't at all the same kind of fighter as Georges St-Pierre.
St-Pierre and, for that matter, the top welterweights in the UFC, represent much different challenges than Penn.
Diaz proved at UFC 137 that he can box with elite strikers in the division and that he can survive on the floor with them as well.
Now that Dana White has announced that Nick Diaz will in fact be facing St-Pierre on Super Bowl weekend, the new questions will revolve around how well Diaz can do against St-Pierre and other similar fighters.
Here are 5 questions still unanswered after UFC 137.
How Will Diaz Deal with Good Strikers Who Can Kick?
While Diaz certainly showed his boxing skill, Penn didn't really offer him much in terms of kicks, knees, or elbows.
While I wouldn't expect elbows to be the demise of Diaz (unless an elbow led to a fight-ending cut), I do think a good striker who can kick could still pose serious problems on the feet for Diaz.
Diaz absorbed a ton of kicks from Evangelista Santos, arguably losing the standup before Santos' notoriously bad cardio reared its ugly head and forced him to go for an ill-advised takedown.
There are far better strikers in the UFC who can kick quite well, including Carlos Condit, Thiago Alves and Georges St-Pierre.
I'm interested in seeing how Diaz can do if a top-level welterweight really puts together a game plan including an emphasis on leg kicks.
How Will Diaz Do Against a Top Welterweight Who Can Wrestle?
When you ask most analysts about Diaz's weaknesses, the first thing that will usually come up is his lack of wrestling and willingness to spend too much time on his back.
Diego Sanchez was having very little success on the feet against Diaz, but managed to win by dominating top position.
Penn was able to have some success on top against Diaz but tired out too quickly.
Could someone like Sanchez still have success against Diaz by taking him down repeatedly and controlling the action from there?
Can Nick Diaz Be Muscled by Bigger and Stronger Welterweights?
B.J. Penn is a great fighter, but he's quite undersized for a welterweight and it showed against Diaz, who was able to muscle Penn against the fence on more than one occasion.
Diaz won't have that advantage against guys like Jon Fitch and, in fact, it could be quite the opposite.
Could someone like Fitch muscle Diaz around and grind him down?
Can Nick Diaz Tire Georges St-Pierre out over 5 Rounds?
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While St-Pierre has never really faded too much over the course of a five-round fight, he's probably also never faced anybody able to push the pace quite as much as Nick Diaz.
Could Diaz possibly wear St-Pierre over five rounds or would St-Pierre simply be able to control the action too easily from top position?
On the other hand, some will argue that Diaz's victory over Penn was mostly indicative of Penn's cardio, and elite fighters with good conditioning should be able to fight with Diaz more competitively over three or five rounds.
Can Nick Diaz Survive the Prime-Time Treatment?
The last time Nick Diaz was scheduled to face St-Pierre, the bout was scrapped after Diaz failed to show up for two press conferences.
Although Diaz managed to get through UFC 137, the level of attention and media demands for a St-Pierre fight on Super Bowl weekend is an entirely different thing.
How will Diaz handle this added pressure?