Though 170-pounders Nick Diaz and Marius Zaromskis couldn’t be much more different stylistically in the ring each man will share a singular goal come January 30th in Miami – emerge victorious and hoist up Strikeforce’s inaugural welterweight championship.
The Stockton native, perhaps known as much for his outspokenness as his high-level jiujitsu, kept the trash-talk to a minimum today in a Strikeforce conference call with media alongside Zaromskis who is riding an impressive three-fight win streak via high-kick.
“I think he’s a good fighter. Anybody who is willing to fight at this level is a good fighter,” said Diaz of the DREAM Welterweight Champion, who in turn responded by showing the admiration was mutual and offered a little insight to how he viewed the match-up.
“(He) is a very well-rounded fighter,” said Zaromskis. “He has strengths in both boxing and grappling…just all around. I think it’s going to be a very tough fight for me. I’ve prepared as well as I can on the ground because Nick has a superior ground game. But this is MMA, this is not kickboxing. I train in all of it. I train in grappling, the fighting, the wrestling, the same for all fighters. I pretty much do everything my trainers tell me to do. If they say do more ground, I do more ground. If they say do more standup, I do more standup.
“As far as Nick’s reach, Nick obviously has a reach advantage because he’s taller. But I don’t feel like the height difference is so drastic between the two of us to really worry about it too much. Of course, I’m concerned about the reach and I have some plans to address that. It’s not like I’m 5 foot 6 and he’s 6 foot 9. I think it’s something I can handle.”
Diaz also addressed his training regimen for the title fight and spoke about returning to welterweight as opposed to competing north of the mark as he had in his pair of appearances for the promotion.
“I do extra push-ups and I run extra miles,” said Diaz. “I kick the heavy bag a lot, a lot. I just do the best I can. I learn more and more as I go. I’ve been doing this for a long time, I’ve got the same partners so we’re always working on new things together. I’m just getting good help by Jake Shields and Gilbert Melendez and my brother…everybody…training for this fight.
“I’m very happy to fight at that weight. I look the best at that weight. I like it, I feel the best at that weight. I’ve been waiting for a long time to fight in here at this weight class. Those last two fights weren’t my idea. I’ve fought at welterweight most of my life, so this isn’t a new thing to me. I’m happy to fight at (170).”
Talk also turned to their fellow Strikeforce welterweight Jay Hieron, who at times had been rumored to fight both Diaz and Zaromskis at the event before behind-the-scenes factors prevented either from taking place. In response to talk that Hieron may not have seen Zaromskis as having enough name-value, the Lithuanian kickboxer responded, “I don’t really care if I’m vindicated (by the title-shot) or not because I don’t pay attention to that. I feel that a fighter should fight whoever they put in front of you, whether he’s famous or not. If Hieron doesn’t feel that I’m famous enough to fight him, then I guess he’ll just have to wait until I get famous and I’ll fight him.
“[Strikeforce] told me to fight so I’m fighting.”
“Ditto. I’m just fighting who they want me to fight,” said Diaz on the subject. “That’s how it is. I’m just fighting who they want me to fight. I try not to open my mouth.
“I’m ready to fight anybody. If they can make it, then let’s do it. I’m ready to fight Hieron and everybody in this weight class to get to the top. Whatever, I’ll do it.”