Fans would be hard-pressed to find more than a few people in the MMA community who feel UFC welterweight Nick Diaz is a more-deserving title-contender than Johny Hendricks. Diaz is coming off a loss and yearlong suspension, while Hendricks is on a five-fight run including knockouts of divisional studs like Jon Fitch and Martin Kampmann. However, champion Georges St-Pierre ultimately went with Diaz as his next opponent rather than Hendricks, leaving many to wonder what GSP was thinking.
St-Pierre has since come forward to explain his rationale, speaking about the subject this week at a press conference promoting his bout with Diaz on March 16 at UFC 158.
“(There are) different reasons why. First, Nick and I were supposed to fight before, and this is the fight everybody wants to see. This is the big fight people wanted to see. People wanted to see this fight more than me fighting any other guys,” stated St-Pierre. “My other option was Johny Hendricks and Johny Hendricks, when I watched the fight with Josh Koscheck, according to me I believe Josh Koscheck should have won that fight, so I didn’t want to fight a guy that lost to a guy I beat.”
Hendricks earned a Split Decision over Koscheck in a May 2012 match-up that could have easily gone the other way. Interestingly enough, Diaz was on the losing end of a narrow outpointing against Carlos Condit who St-Pierre defeated a few months back. Still, in St-Pierre’s eyes Diaz is still the man to beat at 170 pounds and has been for a long time.
“I think for me Nick Diaz is the #1 contender. He’s proven himself many times before, and there is a story between us,” the French-Canadian commented. “It’s a big fight everybody wants to see. Nick wanted to have that fight for a long time. I wanted to have that fight for a long time. Now it’s time to do it.”
Diaz is 26-8 in his career with thirteen submissions and eight TKOs to his credit. Prior to his stumble against Condit the Stockton scrapper had compiled an eleven-fight winning streak including success against Paul Daley and B.J. Penn.
The complete UFC 158 presser can be seen below with St-Pierre’s remarks coming at approximately the 16:45 mark:
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC