The 411 MMA Top 10 3.23.14: Top 10 Nick Diaz Fights
Posted by Alex Rella on 03.24.2014
From his Strikeforce fight with Frank Shamrock and his battle with Paul Daley to his wars with Carlos Condit, BJ Penn and more, 411's Alex Rella counts down the top 10 Nick Diaz fights!
Top Ten Nick Diaz Fights
Hey there gentle readers, I am Alex Rella and this is the MMA Top Ten. This week we will be looking at Nick Diaz and his best fights. Diaz recently announced that he's coming back to fighting and I think overall this is great. Love him or hate him, Diaz is one of the best welterweights of all time and the division could really use him at the top now that GSP is gone. The former Strikeforce and WEC welterweight champion would probably need a win or two before the UFC gives him another title shot. The fights this week are ranked on the usual criteria of fight quality, the significance of the fight in relation to his career, and some of my personal opinion mixed in.
· VS Hayoto Sakurai Dream 14- Diaz won via first round armlock
· VS Scott Smith Strikeforce- Diaz win via third round rear naked choke
· VS Karo Parisyan UFC 49- Diaz lost via split decision
10: VS Marius Žaromskis Strikeforce Miami
2009 was easily the best year of Marius Žaromskis' career as he won the Dream welterweight Grand Prix and their respective title. He went 4-0 and picked up impressive wins over Hayoto Sakurai and Jason High. So Strikeforce brought him over to take on Diaz as the company would name their first champ at 170 lbs. Marius came out swinging and he even knocked Diaz down with a good left hand, but it wasn't enough as Nick's boxing was too good that night. His reach and volume of punches were too much for the Dream champion. Diaz dropped him with a body shot and the ref stopped the fight with less than thirty seconds left in the first round as Diaz won the biggest title of his career.
9: VS Evangelista Santos Strikeforce
Nick Diaz was unstoppable in Strikeforce. Diaz moved back down to welterweight to win the title after a few catchweight fights against larger opponents. This was his second title defense as Cyborg somehow got a title shot after only going 1-1 in the company. Santos is easily one of the scariest looking guys in MMA though. The first round was a nice brawl. Diaz won the round, but Cyborg hung in there and got plenty of his own shots in. Cyborg was looking even better in the second round until he unwisely decided to take the fight to the ground. Diaz then locked in the armbar with ease to finish it. I wonder if his ex wife would do a little better in a fight against Nick Diaz.
8: VS KJ Noons Strikeforce
These two first fought in 2007 for the EliteXC lightweight championship. Noons won this one after the fight was stopped because of several cuts. Seeds for the rematch were planted after Noons defended his title against Yves Edwards. The Diaz brothers came to the cage to hype the fight and Noons' father would lunge at Nick after some trash talking. Nate threw a water bottle at his father, but fortunately things didn't escalate past that. They would meet again three years later at Strikeforce 28. This time Diaz was the champion and it was at welterweight. Both guys were riding long winning streaks as well. Strikeforce would name this their fight of the year in 2010 as Diaz would win by unanimous decision (48-47, 49-47, 49-46). I always thought it would be cool to see a rubber match, but it's unlikely since Noons is back to lightweight and is just too small for welterweight.
7: VS Carlos Condit UFC 143
After GSP injured his ankle, Carlos Condit took on Nick Diaz for the UFC's interim welterweight title. This was a great fight and one of the closest of the year. Carlos Condit won the interim title and later a shot at GSP. Condit fought very smart as he effectively used leg kicks and boxed just as good as Diaz. I thought Diaz should have been more aggressive in the later rounds and this is p\what probably cost him the fight. I thought Condit won, but it was one of those fights that you could have seen it go either way and I have many friends that argue that Diaz was robbed. It worked out for Diaz in the end anyway as he got his title shot against GSP in 2013.
6: VS Frank Shamrock
The Legend fought sporadically for the last couple years of his career that he spent in Strikeforce. Shamrock's last fight took place in April 2009 as he took on Nick Diaz in a 179 pound catchweight fight. This was the lightest Shamrock ever fought at in his career. The first round had some nice exchanges with Diaz coming out on top. By the second round Shamrock was out of gas and he would lose by TKO with a little over a minute left in the round. This was a changing of the guard of sorts as Shamrock was key to the company's start and Diaz would become their top star for the next couple years. Shamrock would announce his retirement over a year later.
5: VS Diego Sanchez TUF 2 Finale
It's weird to think this fight happened almost nine years ago. Back in 2005, Diego Sanchez and Nick Diaz were two of the top rising prospects in the UFC's welterweight division. They met in the main event of the second TUF finale and these two did not like each other to say the least. This fight had some really exciting grappling exchanges as the two were almost constantly rolling around trying to secure dominant position. Sanchez won by unanimous decision as he was able to take Diaz down multiple times and hold him down. Still a really fun fight even though he lost.
4: VS BJ Penn UFC 137
Nick Diaz was originally supposed to challenge GSP for the welterweight title at this show, but he lost his title shot after some unprofessional conduct and switched opponents with Carlos Condit. It didn't matter much as GSP was injured anyway, but Diaz did take on the former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion BJ Penn in the main event. Penn took the first round with some crisp boxing, but Diaz was clearly the superior fighter as he dominated the rest of the fight leaving BJ Penn a bloody mess. A fun fight with some good striking and grappling exchanges that would earn Diaz a title shot in his next fight.
3: VS Robbie Lawler UFC 138
It's kinda cool to think how these two were viewed as the future of the UFC's welterweight division back then and now after multiple company and weight changes the both of them are now at the top of the division. Nick Diaz was twenty years old here with an 8-2 record and Robbie Lawler was twenty two with an 8-1 record. This was six and a half minutes of fun exciting striking. Diaz's usual game plan was working nicely for him, but Lawler was getting in plenty of his own shots that had to hurt. It was looking like Lawler might take the fight as he was winning a striking exchange in the second, but then he dropped his hands and Diaz knocked him out with a right hook. Lawler argued that he was okay, but it was a good stoppage and the only time he's been knocked out in his career. Lawler would move up to middleweight in his next fight.
2: VS Takanori Gomi Pride 33
Takanori Gomi was one of the best fighters to ever compete in Pride. He was the Pride lightweight champion and winner of the 2005 Lightweight Grand Prix. The Fireball Kid came into this fight with a 13-1 record in the organization as he took on Nick Diaz in his only Pride fight. Gomi came out to an early lead as he scored a takedown and knocked Diaz down, but Diaz came at the end of the round as he started pick apart a visibly tired Gomi with his striking. After trying to get the fight stopped like a wuss because of a cut on Nick's face, Gomi shot in for a takedown and got caught in a gogoplata. Diaz pulled out the rarely used hold to pick up one of the biggest wins of his career. Unfortunately the fight would get turned into a no contest as Diaz tested positive for really high levels of marijuana. Some may argue that this should get the top and you really can't go wrong with either one, but I think the fight quality was about even and the failed drug test ruins it a little bit. Plus I admit I'm a little biased when it comes to Strikeforce.
1: VS Paul Daley Strikeforce
In my opinion, this was the best heel vs heel fight ever. This was Nick Diaz' third title defense and final fight in the company before it was purchased by Zuffa. This was Paul Daley's second fight in Strikeforce since he got kicked out of the UFC for being a tool and hitting Josh Koscheck after their fight was over. We got to see two of the best trash talkers and strikers in the welterweight division go at it. It seemed as though Daley would win the fight a few times as he cracked Nick's iron chin, but Diaz showed what he was made of and came back. Most fighters would have just covered their heads and hope for the fight to be over, but Diaz scrambled and got to his feet. Diaz would finish Daley by strikes with only three seconds left in the round. This was the perfect way to end to his great run in Strikeforce.
So let me know how you guys would rank them or maybe I left a fight out that you thought should be in the top 10.
As always, let me know if there are any topics or fighters you would like to see ranked in the future.
I still have no idea what I'm writing about next week so feel free to suggest something cool