• UFC 129

Nick Diaz 'would love to take St-Pierre fight' - Gracie

ESPN staff
May 6, 2011

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Nick Diaz is ready to accept a fight with UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, according to coach Cesar Gracie.

Diaz is the reigning Strikeforce champion at 170lbs, and he is running out of challengers following 10 straight wins. St-Pierre finds himself in a similar position, and there is growing clamour for a champion v champion superfight.

The UFC will need to coax Diaz into the bout, with the Stockton-born fighter keen on the more lucrative opportunities offered in boxing, but a clash with St-Pierre would be by far the biggest earner of Diaz's MMA career, and Gracie revealed the 27-year-old could be tempted by Dana White.

"Nick wants that fight [with St-Pierre]. He would love to take that fight," Gracie told MMAWeekly Radio. "Obviously, I would like to put another one of my guys against Georges St-Pierre, so we definitely want that fight.

"It's no secret Nick was a little bit burnt out. He needs a bigger challenge. No disrespect to the guys he's been fighting because each one of them has brought something to the table. Paul Daley hits really hard, good hands, very dangerous opponent. [Evangelista] Cyborg, great kicks, dangerous opponent. KJ Noons really good boxing also, dangerous, and Nick beat them all at their strengths.

"[St-Pierre] is definitely something Nick wants to motivate him even more. I think he kind of needs that, I really do."

Explaining the potential obstacles blocking the bout, Gracie revealed Diaz agreed to earn less with Strikeforce because they allowed him the option to accept boxing matches. That remains Diaz's plan, but Gracie is in no doubt White has the ability to change his mind.

"The way we had the Strikeforce contract that we signed about a year ago, maybe a little less than that, was that [they were] going to pay [us] this much money per fight. It's not quite the kind of money you probably should be making, but you're going to be able to make it up because you're going to be able to do boxing, and that might be the more lucrative deal.

"There were plusses involved and one of the benefits or bonuses, whatever you want to call it, was being able to box. Now all of a sudden if that's taken away, we need to re-structure the contract maybe, that's the only thing. I'm thinking that Dana's going to be perceptive to this and Nick also working with that. It's just one of those things we all have to sit down and figure it out.

"It'd be great, best case scenario for us would be Nick boxes and then he goes and fights GSP. But again, the person with the answer, the guys that have the answers to all of this and can make everything happen is Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White."

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