Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz is famous for being outspokenly honest, if not sometimes abrasive. The Stockton, California-based scrapper is also widely regarded as being one of the best welterweights in the world, but he recently told MMAWeekly.com that he feels he now must prove that in the UFC in the wake of the Zuffa-Strikeforce merger.
“Honestly, I don’t understand this whole thing,” Diaz said of the Strikeforce buyout. “I’m really way too busy training and in the gym, so I’m focused on that. It’s hard for me to understand all what’s going on. But I knew there was a reason why I never strapped that belt around my waist. Whatever, champion, whatever. He can have the belt. I’m fighting for money.”
Diaz explained that, prior to the buyout, he felt that Strikeforce — while perhaps not as well known as the UFC — competed with the larger promotion in terms of talented fighters, but that now Strikeforce is below the UFC and, by extension, his title is no longer as prestigious as the UFC belt.
“I don’t feel like a champion right now that the UFC bought this organization,” he said. “I don’t understand all that, you know? I thought we were competing with the UFC. I thought my belt might have been just as important or potentially just as important as the UFC belt. And we had the best fighters here. The more technical martial artists and stand-up fighters here in Strikeforce. But now this is all about going to the UFC, so I don’t care about the Strikeforce belt. There was a reason why I never put that s— on anyways.”
When asked if he is now eyeing a move back to the UFC, Diaz replied bluntly: “Yeah. I’m trying to go to the top, you know? If Jake Shields becomes the number one ranked fighter in the world, then I wanna beat number two. It’s fine, I’m happy with that.”
Diaz is scheduled to face British slugger Paul Daley this Saturday night at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California in defense of his Strikeforce belt.