UFC boss says Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz likely if challenger accepts
SEATTLE – Anderson Silva (33-4 MMA, 16-0 UFC) and Johny Hendricks (14-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) may just have to wait their turn.
Georges St-Pierre (23-2 MMA, 17-2 UFC) has asked to face former Strikeforce champ Nick Diaz (26-8 MMA, 7-5 UFC), and UFC President Dana White said he feels obligated to grant the UFC welterweight kingpin his request.
The UFC boss on Thursday revealed the plans following a UFC on FOX 5 pre-event press conference in Seattle.
"Georges St-Pierre went on vacation," White said. "When he came back, we were talking about Anderson Silva. He said, 'I want Nick Diaz. Me and Nick Diaz have unfinished business. We were supposed to fight. That's the fight I want now.'
"Georges St-Pierre has been a phenomenal champion, a phenomenal human being and just a great guy to work with for us. He doesn't ask for things. If he wants to fight Nick Diaz, and Nick Diaz wants to fight him, that's probably the fight we'll make."
White said he has yet to officially offer Diaz the fight, simply because he couldn't find him, but if the former Strikeforce champ is willing, a UFC title fight awaits. A targeted date for the matchup was not revealed.
"I haven't even talked to Nick yet," White admitted. "I was trying to track him down this week, which is always fun. So I called (Nick's brother) Nate (Diaz), and Nate told me, 'Listen, if you talk to him, tell him I'm looking for him, too.'"
Hendricks, who currently boasts a five-fight win streak that includes victories over perennial contenders Martin Kampmann, Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch, is considered by many to be the division's true No. 1 contender. However, White said St-Pierre's wishes take priority over any perceived rankings, and he expects Hendricks to fight again before receiving his own potential title shot.
"Listen, Johny Hendricks has got some great fights," White said. "When you talk about winning in spectacular fashion, this guy hits people so hard he skids across the octagon. But he's in no position to demand anything. Georges St-Pierre is the champ, has been forever, and if that's the fight he wants, then that's probably the fight we're going to give him if Diaz accepts it."
Upon hearing White's statements, Hendricks immediately took to Twitter to voice his frustration.
"I don't really know what to say but please @danawhite give me a shot," Hendricks wrote. "@GeorgesStPierre if u want a fight I will give him anything he can take."
Silva, of course, is the UFC's current middleweight champ and the only UFC title holder who can boast a title rein longer than St-Pierre. White had promised to make a superfight between the two champions, but posturing on both sides as to exactly where the two would meet on weight led to some concern as to whether or not the fight would actually take place. White did not rule out a future arrangement, but St-Pierre apparently wants to face the fiery Diaz before considering his fellow champion.
St-Pierre and Diaz were originally scheduled to fight in October 2011 at UFC 137, but Diaz failed to show for a pair of promotional appearances and was pulled from the bout. In an odd twist, he was later placed back on the card against B.J. Penn after St-Pierre was forced to withdraw from the event with a training injury. The St-Pierre vs. Diaz bout was later planned for UFC 143, but St-Pierre was also pulled from that card, which allowed Carlos Condit to step in and defeat Diaz in a hotly-contested unanimous decision and claim a UFC interim title belt. Diaz then tested positive for marijuana metabolites in a post-fight drug screen and was subsequently suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission through February 2013.
Diaz, known almost as much for his trashtalking and aggressive demeanor as for his ample fighting skills, has long been under St-Pierre's skin. Following Diaz's UFC 137 win over Penn, White said the French-Canadian made an impassioned plea to face the hot-headed Californian.
"I've known Georges St-Pierre since 2004," White said at the UFC 137 post-event press conference. "He's one of the nicest guys I've ever met, and he's always exactly the same no matter what the situation is, no matter who he's fighting. Since 2004, I've never seen him like he was tonight.
"[St-Pierre] said, and I quote – you're going to think I'm full of [expletive], but this is the truth – I quote, 'He's the most disrespectful human being I've ever met, and I'm going to put the worst beating you've ever seen on him in the UFC."
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