Though Greg Jackson usually gets the credit for producing the most best fighters in the game, the crew of scrappers holding things down under Cesar Gracie is nothing to be scoffed at. This was evidenced in last weekend’s Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley event, where two Gracie pupils, Nick Diaz and Gilbert Melendez, defended their respective titles in dominant and exciting fashion.
Diaz took on British slugger Paul Daley, in what was one of the most exciting single rounds in MMA history. The two fought back and forth and both got clipped and hurt, though it was Diaz who stood with his arms raised at the end after felling “Semtex” from an accumulation of strikes. Though Daley was touted as the stronger striker, Gracie recently spoke with StudioMMA.com and revealed that there was never any concern from their camp about Diaz’s ability to hang with the Brit on their feet.
“Nick is much better than him standing up and that’s what people didn’t understand,” said Gracie. “He’s just a completely better boxer. And really, Daley clipped him with a good — I think it was a left hook over there — I think Nick just thought he was more hurt than he was and he kinda came in with his hands down and he got caught. So, he was a little arrogant and that’s what happens when you’re a little cocky like that. But other than that, Nick just got back up and put a clinic on the guy. He did what I thought he was gonna do, a little earlier than I thought, but he did what I thought he was gonna do.”
Both Diaz and Melendez have expressed interest in fighting the UFC champs in their respective divisions, but Gracie doesn’t see Nick getting the chance as he predicts that another one of his pupils, Jake Shields, will dethrone the French-Canadian when they meet later this month.
“As far as Nick Diaz is concerned, that guy, there’s nothing like him out there really,” said Gracie. “It’s kind of one of those things, I’d love for him to fight GSP, but I think his teammate’s gonna take care of business, Jake Shields. I’ve got him in the main event coming up. It’s just something special that we’ve got all these guys that are so good at my camp, I’m really blessed.”