MONTREAL- MAY 8: Josh Koscheck (top) stands on Paul Daley in their welter weight bout at UFC 113 at Bell Centre on May 8, 2010 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
One of the fighters put in the most awkward position by the recent Zuffa acquisition of Strikeforce is clearly Paul Daley. The brash Brit had started a UFC career at UFC 103 with a tremendous stoppage of Martin Kampmann and followed that up with a KO of Dustin Hazelett. Fans were calling for Daley to get a shot at the welterweight title and a win over Josh Koscheck would have gotten him the shot. Unfortunately for Paul, Koscheck was able to take him down over and over for three rounds leading to Daley throwing a punch after the final bell at his trash talking foe. The act led to his immediate release from the UFC and claims by Dana White that Daley would never fight in the UFC again.
Since the release, Daley has gone 4-0 including crushing KO's in his last two bouts against Scott Smith and Yuya Shirai. Now set to face Strikeforce welterweight champ Nick Diaz at Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley, Daley realizes that he's in a position of power. From MMA Fighting:
But the truth be told, when I am the Strikeforce champion, I'll have even more bargaining power, and it will be even more of a kick to the teeth of the guys that don't like me in the organization. To negotiate before the fight would show a lack of confidence in myself, and I'm very confident I'm going to beat Nick Diaz. Once a champion, I have more power to negotiate.
It's a reasonable position to take but one that may not matter if the negotiations don't extend past White saying "we don't want you." For his part, Daley is still trying to figure out exactly why the UFC boss has such a problem with him:
If Dana gives me an honest opinion -- aside from hitting Koscheck after the bell -- as to why he genuinely dislikes me, then at least I'd get some explanation. But there's too many incidents in the history of the UFC that prove it's more personal. Many of the UFC fighters have done a lot worse things to bring the company into disrepute, and they're still there.
The UFC has retained or signed fighters involved in high speed drunken chases with police, fighters involved in huge post-fight brawls and fighters with long histories of in-ring poor behavior including attacking referees. So it isn't hard to see why Daley feels that this is somehow a personal issue.
The only way to know if Daley will ever get another shot in the UFC is for him to defeat Diaz on April 9 and remove any chance for White to dismiss his credentials. This is a truth Daley seems to be fully aware of and one that he appears to have plenty of confidence will become a reality.