A superfight with UFC legend Anderson Silva on Jan. 31 brought Nick Diaz out of retirement, and his former coach Cesar Gracie believes the Stockton native could hand "The Spider" his third straight loss at UFC 183.
"I already knew this fight would happen a long time ago," Cesar Gracie told MMAFighting.com, "and I think it’s a great fight."
Both fighters enter the cage coming off back-to-back losses. Silva was stopped twice by Chris Weidman, while Diaz suffered decision losses to Georges St-Pierre and Carlos Condit in welterweight title fights. However, Gracie doesn’t think it’s going the distance this time.
"I believe it’s going to be a standup fight the entire time," he said. "Nick is better on the ground, his jiu-jitsu is better, but I believe it’s going to be a standup fight and it won’t last five rounds. I think it will be over before five rounds, someone will get knocked out.
"Nick is hard to knock out, he was knocked out only once in the beginning of his career," Gracie continued. "Anderson is bigger than Nick, but he’s turning 40 now and his chin is not the same anymore. If Nick can get in there and punch him, I think he wins this fight. Nick will turn 31 in August, he’s just a kid. Anderson is fast and dangerous. I don’t know who’s going to win, but I know it’s going to be a good fight."
Diaz will be moving up to 185 pounds division for this bout, and that’s the only thing that concerns his coach. The last time he fought above the 170-pound limit was in 2009, when he finished Frank Shamrock and Scott Smith at 180-pound catchweight bouts at Strikeforce.
"Anderson is used to fighting bigger guys, like Chael Sonnen and those guys," he said, "so I think the weight difference will help Anderson."
Diaz, a former Strikeforce welterweight champion, will return to the Octagon almost two years after his last bout, while Silva enters the cage again 13 months after suffering a leg break in his rematch with Weidman at UFC 168. Diaz retired from MMA after a loss to St-Pierre, but he never stopped training, according to Gracie.
"He was training, but he really retired," he said. "He wanted more money and everything, and he didn’t train like he used to. He was more relaxed, doings things he liked."