Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz is currently set to defend his strap for the first time this weekend against the last man to defeat him, KJ Noons. Noons and Diaz first met in the cage at Elite XC: Renegade in 2007 and it was Diaz who would walk away from the fight in defeat. The fight’s ending has been deemed controversial by many, as the fight was stopped in the first round due to cuts that Diaz had sustained from Noons’ punches. Diaz recently spoke with ShootMediaTV about that fight, their upcoming rematch and even offered some reasoning as to why he fights and acts the way he does.
“I knew what I was in for. I was running in a lot,” Diaz said of his and Noons’ first fight. “It’s not like I had the wrong game plan, it just didn’t work out for me very well.”
Diaz is one of the more polarizing figures currently competing in MMA. He is know for having an attitude and for being slightly difficult to deal with. He has been involved in a number of out-of-the-cage scraps during his MMA career; most notably the Strikeforce: Nashville post-fight brawl with Jason Miller and the in-hospital brawl he got into with Joe Riggs following their 2006 UFC 57 meeting.
Those that know Diaz well point out that he is simply a genuine man and the fighter himself offers some insight into his mindset when he describes his rough-and-tumble formative years.
“I didn’t have a lot of friends when I was real little,” he said. “I was moving around a lot of schools and stuff. So, when I’d get to a new school it was hard to fit in you know? I didn’t have a lot of younger friends so I’d sneak out to hang out with older friends and they’d f*** me up. I’d fight with them, and [they’d say] man, ‘This little guy can fight.’ By the time I was in middle school I was just a little rough and after that we hit high school and I was rough and fighting. That’s just how it is.”
UFC President Dana White has pointed to Nick Diaz as being one of his favorite fighters, and he currently employs Diaz’s younger brother Nathan. However, he has expressed trepidation at re-hiring the elder of the fighting Diaz brothers due to the fact that Nick “won’t even play the game.” In regards to “playing the game,” Diaz told ShootMedia that he is willing, he just needs to be told what is expected from him and paid the right amount.
“People need to understand that I don’t make a lot of money,” Diaz said. “I spend all my money on food. I don’t have any money, I spent it all on food. I worry about taxes and I watch my bank account just *swoosh* get sucked away. I just want to fight and get paid. I’ll act nice, whatever. If I’m paid to do that just let me know that’s what I need to do. You want me to play the game. Well, what’s the game? Just tell me what I’m supposed to do. What’s my job description? I thought I’m a fighter so I just kept it real like I always did.”
Diaz is currently on a seven-fight winning streak and has posted all seven of those victories after fighting Noons in 2007. He and Noons will main event this weekend’s Strikeforce show and, for his part, he is just looking forward to getting the chance to have the fight play out unadulterated, without any kind of interference.
“He’s gonna have to really catch me with some good shots to knock me out,” Diaz said. “I put some good punches in too so he’s gonna have to watch out. It’s gonna be hard to finish me unless he can put some cuts in and they want to stop it like that. I’m just grateful that I get this fight.”
Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Noons II will be held this Saturday night at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California.