• Strikeforce: Diaz v Daley

Paul Daley victory unlikely to spell UFC return

ESPN staff
April 8, 2011

Paul Daley is hugely unlikely to earn himself an automatic spot back in the UFC if he beats Nick Diaz this weekend, ESPN understands.

Daley takes on Diaz for the Strikeforce welterweight title on Saturday, knowing victory makes him the most sought-after 170-pounder outside of the UFC.

Following the takeover of Strikeforce by Zuffa, media and fans alike are waiting to see how long UFC president Dana White might wait to pull the trigger in order to cherry-pick a Strikeforce star for a future high-profile clash in the UFC.

Daley and Diaz stand as good a chance as any, with the UFC welterweight division currently running out of challengers to champion Georges St-Pierre, who fights Jake Shields at UFC 129.

Victory for British fighter Daley would be his fifth in a row, he is the current owner of the Knockout of the Year, and he has 20 KO victims in all. Diaz, meanwhile, is one of the most popular fighters in the sport, currently on a nine-fight tear.

However, both men have a chequered past and, in Daley's case, his previous misdemeanours remain very raw. The post-fight sucker punch on Josh Koscheck at UFC 113 was one of the most visibly damaging moments ever seen in the sport, and his refusal to offer an immediate apology has left a lasting mark on White.

Daley currently has several fights left on his Strikeforce contract, but even if he became a free agent off the back of a big victory this weekend, ESPN understands more water will need to pass beneath the bridge before he is allowed back in the UFC.

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