Until recently, it seemed the only people who felt UFC welterweight Nick Diaz deserved a shot at champion Georges St-Pierre when he returns to the ring in a few months were members of his camp and the occasional fan or media member. However, Diaz recently received an endorsement from an unlikely individual in the form of GSP’s head trainer, Firas Zahabi.
According to the TriStar MMA chief, Diaz is the preferable option to Johny Hendricks if St-Pierre opts to continue his career as a 170-pounder instead of beefing up for a bout with pound-for-pound king Anderson Silva.
“I think Diaz is the guy who deserves it most,” explained Zahabi in an interview with MMAJunkie. “His fight with Carlos Condit was so close. Who knows? People judge it both ways.”
“(Diaz is) the guy who is the Strikeforce champion. He climbed up the ladder all the way,” he continued. “Johny deserves it very much, but Diaz has been there longer and done more fights and has bigger wins.”
Hendricks (14-1) has won five fights in a row including knockouts of Martin Kampmann and Jon Fitch but lacks the drawing power of the polarizing Diaz. Another factor possibly influencing the matter relates to St-Pierre’s personal dislike of the 26-8 Californian based on a handful of heated exchanges.
Though Zahabi still isn’t sure what St-Pierre’s next move will be, he did confirm the fan-favorite is expected to corner teammate Rory MacDonald next weekend at UFC on FOX 5, giving coach and competitor a chance to sit down and discuss what’s next. And, if it involves defending his welterweight belt, it sounds like Diaz may be the man standing opposite from St-Pierre in the Octagon come showtime.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC