Nick Diaz (26-8 MMA, 7-5 UFC) quickly became the center of the MMA universe with a handful of epic rants on this past week’s pre-UFC 158 conference call, but Georges St-Pierre (23-2 MMA, 17-2 UFC) was not impressed.
After all, he’s been there and done that.
Just like Josh Koscheck, B.J. Penn and Matt Serra before him, Diaz has been all too happy to trash St-Pierre at each and every opportunity. The champ doesn’t see it as anything more than a business decision.
“It’s not my fault,” St-Pierre told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “It’s just that they don’t have a lot of pay-per-view buys. I sell a lot of pay-per-views, and they want to have the money.
“They talk their way into the fight. They win, and they try to get that fight. They talk, and then there’s a big story about it.”
And Diaz’s mouth has certainly garnered headlines. From stories of soccer moms rooting on his demise to his contention that St-Pierre is a pampered wrestler, it’s Diaz’s talk that has captured the most interest ahead of the pair’s UFC 158 meeting.
UFC President Dana White said St-Pierre asked for the booking as a way to silence Diaz, but the champ said it was simply a way to please the fans.
“This is the fight that everyone wants to see,” St-Pierre said. “All the fans want to see it. It’s a fight that he wants. It’s a fight that I want, and I think it’s going to make the best version of me come out for the fight.”
So perhaps it’s not quite the personal mission we’ve been led to believe. Diaz’s rants seem to have struck a nerve with St-Pierre, but if that’s the case, the champ isn’t willing to acknowledge it. From his point of view, Diaz is simply the next guy in line.
“All fights are very, very important,” St-Pierre said. “It’s a very, very tough fight for me. But they’re all very important.
“I believe everybody I fight has great things about them. They’re the best in the world at what they do. I think the same thing here, but I don’t care what Diaz is going to try to do to me. I care about I’m going to try to do to him. That’s what’s going to happen on March 16.”
And just exactly what is he looking to do?
“The perfect scenario would be ‘GSP’ victory via flying armbar 10 seconds into the fight,” St-Pierre said with a laugh. “That would be awesome.”
Awesome, but perhaps not exactly likely. Still St-Pierre vs. Diaz certainly has the feel of a big fight. Whether or not that’s a direct result of Diaz’s approach to the pre-fight hype or simply the fact that the contest features two of the most-skilled and well-known welterweights in the world, the event is expected to be one of the UFC’s biggest fights of the year.
According to White, St-Pierre has said he wants to put a beating on Diaz. But the champ insists there’s no reason to believe that’s any different than his 19 previous octagon appearances.
“I want to hurt all the guys that I fight,” St-Pierre said. “The goal is to win by knockout or submission.”
UFC 158 takes place Saturday at Montreal’s Bell Centre. The evening’s main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and Facebook.
For more on UFC 158, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.