Diaz, ‘Cyborg,’ Walker Official for Jan. 30 Strikeforce


Strikeforce will showcase one of its top stars when UFC veteran Nick Diaz shares the stage with women’s champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos and 1982 Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker during a Jan. 30 event at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla., the promotion announced on Friday. Opponents for the three have not been booked.

A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Cesar Gracie, Diaz has proven himself one of the most versatile competitors in the sport. The rugged 26-year-old Californian will carry a five-fight winning streak into the show. He last appeared in June, when he submitted Scott Smith with a third-round rear-naked choke after battering him with a flurry of accurate punches. Victories against former EliteXC middleweight champion Robbie Lawler, former Strikeforce middleweight champion Frank Shamrock and UFC veterans Chris Lytle, Gleison Tibau and Josh Neer dot his resume.

Santos, meanwhile, has not competed since she blasted through the previously unbeaten Gina Carano to capture the Strikeforce women’s crown in August. Based out of the Chute Boxe Academy, the 24-year-old Brazilian has rattled off eight consecutive wins, six of them finishes. Santos appears to have fully recovered from the shoulder injury she suffered at the Abu Dhabi Submission Wrestling World Championships three months ago in Spain; it did not require surgery.

Finally, all eyes will be on Walker and his professional mixed martial arts debut. The soon-to-be 48-year-old Georgian, a fifth-degree black belt in tae kwon do, recently entered into a 12-week training camp at the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif., home to UFC welterweight contenders Jon Fitch, Mike Swick and Josh Koscheck, along with Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson.

One of college football’s greatest players, he led the University of Georgia to an undefeated season and national championship as a freshman in 1980 and won the Heisman Trophy two years later. He rushed for 5,259 yards and 49 touchdowns in 33 games as a collegian and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999.

After a stint in the now-defunct United States Football League, Walker spent 12 seasons in the NFL with the Cowboys, Vikings, Eagles and Giants. The Wrightsville, Ga., native still ranks eighth on the all-time list with 18,168 all-purpose yards, ahead of such hall of famers as Marcus Allen, Thurman Thomas, Tony Dorsett and Jim Brown.

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