With such an impressive win over one of the best fighters in UFC history, one must beg the question, "What did Diaz do right in his fight with Penn?"
Both of these fighters have extremely strong and tested ground games. Diaz does have a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black belt, but Penn is still on another level when comparing the two fighters.
The fight did go to the ground early in the first round, but Diaz was able to keep this fight on the feet for the most part. It was certainly the right move to make.
Because he was able to keep it standing, Diaz could use his striking in a supremely effective way. Don’t get me wrong, Penn has some great boxing and was able to get some good shots in, but in the end, Diaz’s chin was able to withstand Penn’s striking.
In combination with his striking, Diaz was able to set up and keep a relentless pace on “The Prodigy.” Penn is known for having a small gas tank and it showed in Saturday night's performance. It's a really good thing for Penn this fight didn't get changed to five rounds.
Diaz has some fantastic conditioning. He gave the first round to Penn, but seemed almost unstoppable as the fight went into the second and third rounds. He kept Penn standing, was continually successful with his striking, and made Penn go at a pace he couldn’t handle.
If any fighter has ever proved that he’s for real, it was Nick Diaz on Saturday night. But will he be good enough to defeat Georges St-Pierre?