MMA Odds And Ends For Thursday: Nate Diaz To Switch Weight Classes?
Nate Diaz may have a fight this weekend against veteran Josh Thomson, but that hasn't stopped the Cesar Gracie fighter from looking ahead to his next fight.
The lightweight contender today told MMAjunkie.com that after his UFC on FOX 7 bout against Thomson, which takes place this Saturday night at HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA, he's likely to move back up to welterweight because he doesn't believe there are any fights left for him at 155 pounds, especially if his teammate Gilbert Melendez wins the UFC lightweight title this weekend.
The move comes on the heels of Diaz' listless lost in his title opportunity back in December against UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson at UFC on FOX 5. For five rounds Henderson continuously took Diaz down to the mat and beat him up, and Diaz offered little in the way of resistance. Although the loss dropped him down the ladder, the UFC matched him up with another top contender in Thomson and a win would certainly keep him in the title mix.
However, he's apparently going to go back to welterweight, where he competed from March 2010 to April 2011, going 2-2 with wins over Rory Markham and Marcus Davis and losses to Dong Hyun Kim and Rory MacDonald. Although Kim and MacDonald are two of the best welterweight fighters in the world and often have a grappling advantage over their opponents, the fact of the matter is Diaz was too weak to compete with them and was completely dominated in the wrestling in both fights, especially in the bout against MacDonald at UFC 129, which is best known for Diaz being suplexed three times.
The move back to 170 pounds seems like a very bad idea for Diaz because wrestling has always been his weakness and the 170-pound division is full of big, dominant wrestlers such as Georges St-Pierre, Johny Hendricks, and Jake Ellenberger. Even guys on the bubble of the top 10 like Mike Pierce possess the type of wrestling to give Diaz fits, so if Diaz does make the move back to welterweight he likely won't get even close to the title picture, although there are definitely some big-money fights for him at 170.
The fact that Diaz is even talking about making the switch back to 170 could lead bettors to believe he is looking past Thomson this weekend. Diaz is currently a -185 favorite (bet $185 to win $100) at 5Dimes Sportsbook with Thomson currently a +160 underdog (bet $100 to win $160). The MMA Oddscast covered this bout and all three experts picked Thomson to win this fight, and reading into the comments Diaz made today, Thomson really does seem like the right side this weekend.
UFC in New York Not Looking Good
UFC president Dana White today told media in San Jose that the promotion isn't likely to visit New York this winter for the promotion's 20th anniversary event, which is what White's goal is. The first UFC event took place on November 12, 1993 and White wants to go to New York for the UFC's 20th anniversary but the sport is still illegal in the state despite the efforts of UFC to change that. One of the main roadblocks has been the Las Vegas Culinary Union, which is at odds with the Fertitta brothers, and up until now has offered enough resistance to make New York lawmakers wary of legalizing MMA.
Hopefully things change soon and the UFC can have their 20th anniversary blowout event in New York as White has promised he would bring a huge main event to New York City -- possibly even a superfight between Anderson Silva and Jon Jones. But for now, that's just a pipedream.