Paul Daley (26-9-2) gets his first crack at Strikeforce championship gold when he faces reigning welterweight champion Nick Diaz (24-7, 1 NC) this Saturday in San Diego, California.
Daley is on a four-fight win streak, and has won eight of his last nine bouts. In his debut with the promotion last December, “Semtex” demolished Scott “Hands Of Steel” Smith, knocking him out with a single, perfectly placed, ferocious counter left hook at 2:09 of the opening round. He went on to outclass Yuya Shirai last February in Manchester, England to secure the title shot.
It is also Daley’s first fight under the Zuffa banner, after the British slugger had his contract with the UFC terminated after firing off a late punch at Josh Koscheck at UFC 113. Daley had voiced his displeasure and trepidation over the UFC’s purchase of Strikeforce, and noted in an interview with MMAFighting that he feels that Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker “sold out,” and that UFC President Dana White has something “personal” against him. Despite that, Daley plans on honoring his contract and facing Diaz this Saturday and hopes that his efforts result in a “Fight of the Night” bonus, which the organization has never done up until this point.
“Now that Zuffa has purchased Strikeforce, I’m trying to get a ‘Fight of the Night’ bonus as well as a Strikeforce title,” said Daley.
He admitted that he didn’t know if Strikeforce would award such a bonus but hopes that if he keeps hinting at it, the organization will oblige.
It will be the third title defense for Diaz, a Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black belt who was superlative en route to turning back a determined bid by challenger Evangelista Cyborg and scoring an impressive second-round submission (armbar) in his last outing this past January. Daley admits to being excited for the bout, something that usually doesn’t happen.
“Its rare that I get excited for a fight,” Daley admitted. “Nick Diaz comes to fight. If you look at my face after a fight, I rarely ever get hit, but I know with Nick Diaz, I’m going to be in a fight.
“I think he’s going to bring out the best in me.”
Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley takes place this Saturday, April 9, 2011 at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California. The main card will be televised live on Showtime. You can check out Daley’s interview below: