Fresh off a first-round win over Paul Daley, but frustrated by his future prospects in mixed martial arts, Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz is expected to turn to professional boxing for his next in-ring performance.
“(Strikeforce doesn’t) have anybody else for me to fight right now. I’m better than all these guys they have,” Diaz told HDNet’s Inside MMA recently. “I don’t see much of a future in this sport for me. I’m signed into a contract I don’t know anything about. All I know is my life is a living Hell full of training… (I) cater to everybody else.”
There are some good welterweights coming down the pike in Strikeforce, but the majority of the Top 10 170-pounders are fighting in the UFC. Those are the types of fights that Diaz wants, the George St-Pierre’s and Jon Fitch’s of the world.
In Strikeforce, Diaz’s current options are up-and-comers like Tyron Woodley and Tarec Saffiedine, or veterans like Jorge Masvidal. All are fine fighters, but not the big draw fights that Diaz is looking for. So it may come as no surprise that, with an ever-growing respect for his striking, he is now planning to test the waters in professional boxing in a big way.
In a separate interview with Inside MMA, Diaz’s manager, Cesar Gracie, said, “(Fernando Vargas) is very interested. We’ve actually signed on the dotted line for that fight, ourselves, and we’re waiting for him now.
“We’re looking at September, October for something like that. We’re just waiting for their camp.”
That was the plan at the time of the interview, but Gracie on Thursday afternoon told MMAWeekly.com, “Actually, just heard Vargas might have medical issues. So we are looking at another opponent.”
The plan is still for Diaz’s next fight to be a professional boxing bout, but their sights have shifted to the possibility of him fighting former IBF super middleweight champion Jeff Lacy.
Although UFC parent company Zuffa, LLC, recently acquired Strikeforce, UFC president Dana White has been adamant that they are in no hurry to start inbreeding the two promotions, saying Strikeforce will operate “business as usual.”
That likely means that Diaz’s prospects for a big name MMA opponent any time soon are fairly slim, so expect him to emerge in the boxing ring this Fall.
Gracie stated in the InsideMMA interview, “Nick’s next fight will be in the ring as a boxer.”
Ken Pishna is the managing editor of MMAWeekly.com.
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