UFC president Dana White announced today that Nick Diaz will be vacating the Strikeforce welterweight championship when he faces Georges St-Pierre for the UFC welterweight strap at UFC 137 on October 29th.
“He [Diaz] will give up the title. He will give up his Strikeforce title,” said White. “He will come in and fight Georges St. Pierre. Two guys will fight for the vacant belt in Strikeforce, and then we’ll go from there.”
White noted that Diaz now has a contract with the UFC, but could still fight for Strikeforce if he is unable to wrest the title away from GSP.
“[Diaz] has a UFC contract now,” White stated. “If things didn’t go well, there’d be no problem with him fighting over in Strikeforce. He’d still make the same money. It’s the same company. It’s not like we’d say, ‘Now you’re going to Strikeforce and you got to do this.’ Diaz is stepping up. He’s going to take this big fight with Georges St. Pierre. We always make it right with the guys, so we’ll figure it out.”
27-year-old Strikeforce welterweight champ Nick Diaz has gone undefeated in ten fights, not having lost a bout since dropping a contest to KJ Noons in 2008 via controversial TKO stoppage. For those new to MMA, it may come as a surprise that Diaz is a ten-fight veteran of the UFC, having posted a record of 6-4 in the promotion between 2003 and 2006 against names like Diego Sanchez, Karo Parisyan, Robbie Lawler and Sean Sherk. Since leaving the UFC, Diaz has defeated the likes of Takanori Gomi (though the win, which came via gogoplata in an epic bout, was overturned after Diaz tested positive for marijuana), Frank Shamrock, Marius Zaromskis, Hayato Sakurai, KJ Noons and Evangelista Santos. Most recently, Diaz defended his title in a blistering back-and-forth scrap against British slugger Paul Daley which provided one of the most entertaining rounds of the year so far. Diaz is 25-7 with one no contest overall.
Fresh off of a lackluster win over another Cesar Gracie product in Jake Shields, Georges St-Pierre is still hearing criticism for having what some perceive to be a safety-first approach to fighting. Decision-heavy though his recent record may be, “Rush” has also taken out some of the top fighters in the world over his current nine-fight winning streak, having defeated the likes of Josh Koscheck (twice), Matt Hughes, Matt Serra, Jon Fitch, BJ Penn, Thiago Alves, Dan Hardy and Shields. At 22-2, GSP has proven himself to be one of the most dominant champs in MMA, second only to Anderson Silva in terms of sheer divisional dominance.
Though not officially announced by the organization, UFC 137: St-Pierre vs. Diaz is expected to take place on October 29, 2011, from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Thanks to Mark Wayne for contributing to this article.