UFC 158: St-Pierre vs Diaz | Gentlemen vs Thug
Editors Note: This article is a combined effort between John and Daniel.
To really understand the importance of UFC 158 St-Pierre vs Diaz we have first back track a little.
This match between two fighters who couldn’t be more opposite, has been over two years in the making & now it is finally just a week away!
We have the UFC poster boy, Dolce & Gabana wearing, Canadian superstar, top pay-per-view draw, loved from Toronto to Tokyo, and referred to simply by his initials’ GSP VS the Metal Militia wearing, 420 loving, middle finger taunting, area code providing, permanent scowl wearing, quintessential bad guy.
Polar Opposites in Character and What they Stand For
St-Pierre is known for his discipline, respect and character. It has been tested throughout his career. He was too quick to speak against Matt Hughes and later apologized sincerely. When he lost the title the first time he held it, he initially didn’t give his opponent Matt Serra the credit of being the better fighter. He blamed it on personal issues but would later apologize and concede that Matt was the better fighter that night. St-Pierre isn’t perfect but he owns up to his mistakes, apologizes sincerely and learns from his mistakes. This shows character.
If in real life an archnemesis actually existed this could be it.
Diaz is disciplined, talented and one of the best fighters in the UFC. But his interpretation of respect is accurate only in his own world. Diaz takes the bad boy persona to a new level. He disrespects his fighters in and out of the ring. He’s a product of Stockton, California and got into MMA because he was bullied at a young age. It’s unfortunate that these events that made him a victim have turned him into this “bad boy”. This isn’t to say he doesn’t do good outside of the ring. He promotes and participates in charity events and was once called, “Stocktonian of the year”. Diaz is an excellent role model of working hard and overcoming adversity, it’s just his character in other areas that are lacking.
The other day the two were in a conference call and if you listen to it you’re left realizing that Diaz has no clue of what respect is. He initiates a verbal sparring session. He’s rude to St-Pierre and then apologizes. He throws profanity at St-Pierre and then says he respects the guy. He disrespects St-Pierre with ugly rants and then says he has no ill will against him. When the call ended I wasn’t sure where Diaz stood because he said one thing but his actions said another.
Apologizing at the end doesn’t give one the right to say and do as they feel.
At one point Diaz interrupts a reporter who is asking St-Pierre if he is pampered: “I hope so, motherf—–. If I had that much money, I’d be pampering myself up and having mother—–s pampering my s— left and right. Every hour, there’d be [someone] showing up to pamper me. That would be that.”
St-Pierre couldn’t get much in but did have one response to Diaz, “Let me tell you something, uneducated fool. Listen to me. I have not always been rich. I started from the bottom. I made myself and worked very hard to be where I am right now. I know you don’t believe this, because you didn’t succeed yet, and maybe you will never succeed in your life because I don’t think you’re smart enough to understand how you should [act] to reach that point.”
I think St-Pierre is talking about Character here..about becoming a better man. Not just a skilled fighter.
(I’ve provided the conference call at the end of this article for anyone that wants to listen to its entirety or read the text highlights.)
The Title Fight Diaz squandered
George St-Pierre vs Diaz were first to set to meet at UFC 137 in October of 2011. Diaz was the UFC’s latest and greatest acquisition from Strikeforce, (a sister company of the UFC) and Nick was its most dominate champion, riding a 10 fight win streak with a string of highlight reel finishes. But Diaz ‘s title shot against St-Pierre was taken away following an unexplained string of no-shows at media events in Las Vegas and Toronto.
Diaz was rescheduled to face BJ Penn at UFC 137, and after another dominating performance over BJ, Diaz further infuriated St-Pierre by explicitly calling him out and questioning the validity of a minor knee injury suffered by the champion that forced him out of a bout with then #1 contender Carlos Condit. In fact it was a major injury that St-Pierre suffered, a torn ligament in his knee during training and he was sidelined for over a year.
So at UFC 143 the UFC put an Interim Welterweight Belt on the line for the two number one contenders: Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit. Diaz was riding an 11 game win streak and was heavily favored going into this fight. Condit however defeated Diaz via unanimous decision. And shortly thereafter Diaz failed his post-fight drug test, testing positive for marijuana metabolites he was suspended for one year, and fined 30 percent of his fight purse (about $79,500). Upset with the result of the fight and what followed after, Diaz announced his retirement from the sport of MMA and his interest to pursue a career in boxing.
Second Chance at the Title Fight
The MMA world mourned when Diaz retired. He’s a talented and entertaining fighter. That is unarguable. Fighters aren’t chosen for their character. But it’s also not their decision to be a role model or not. Many wanted to still see a St Pierre vs Diaz fight and now it’s finally happening. I personally just knew this fight was bound to happen one way or another, there was just too much unfinished business and too much money to be made! So when St-Pierre returned from injury and defeated Condit, Diaz was waiting.
For the 1st time since St-Pierre’s dominate reign began in 2005 we started to hear the most uncharacteristic things coming out of his mouth. UFC promoter and co-owner; Dana White was quoted as saying: “I’ve known Georges St-Pierre since 2004. 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.” But GSP thoughts on Diaz are and 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.”
This has always been the fight fans wanted to see, and sure enough here we. And really what more could you want?
2 dominant fighters, 1 Champion, 1 Challenger, 21 UFC events, 3 injuries, 2 years, 1 suspension and countless unmet expectations later… in the words of Bruce Buffer: “It’s Most Definitely Time!”
Conference call for UFC 158: St-Pierre vs Diaz. If you want highlights of it in text format click here.
Editors Note: This article was a combined effort from John and Daniel. Some other articles from Daniel on UFC are Man Lessons Learned from UFC 151 and Man Lessons Learned from Silva vs Sonnen II. Daniel has been an avid MMA follower since 2000 and enjoyed the first rivalry between Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz.