UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre will face Nick Diaz at UFC 158 in March in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Following the announcement of that fight, GSP did a media Q&A at tonight's UFC The Ultimate Fighter Finale 16 in Las Vegas. GSP discussed the decision to fight Nick Diaz, who is currently serving a one-year suspension for marijuana and is coming off a loss, rather than Johny Hendricks, who owns a lengthy winning streak featuring KO's of some of the division's most feared fighters.
Some of GSP's points:
- The title shot is not a "favor" to Nick Diaz, it's a favor to the fans and the UFC.
- "It's the fight that's going to sell the most and the fans want to see. It's the big fight, it's the fight everyone want to see."
- He agreed that he feels bad for Johny Hendricks but "I cannot split myself into different pieces and fight everyone at the same time."
- As for the Anderson Silva fight, GSP says he would need time to put on weight to fight Silva and that he couldn't do that by March. He's been out for 19 months and wants to get some time in.
- "I believe in my heart that Diaz deserve it. The Condit fight was very close and some people thought Diaz won the fight. Personally, I thought Condit won but it was very close."
- He hopes that Diaz "doesn't do something crazy" that forces the cancellation of the fight because it would not be good to spend all that time training and not get to fight but that he thinks Diaz is a pro and knows that this fight is the biggest opportunity of his life. "(Diaz) is an old-timer."
- GSP points out that "I have to do what is time to do now. If I fight Anderson I have to take time to put on weight and that means Diaz and Hendricks and everyone will be mad... We have to approach things in a scientific way and it is the time to fight Diaz."
- He emphasized that if he goes up in weight to face Silva he will stay up in weight. He mentioned the example of boxer Roy Jones, Jr. whose rapid late-career decline is often blamed on jumping up and down in weight.
- "People will tune in on pay-per-view way more than they would for Johny Hendricks."
- "I believe Diaz is #1 ranked. His fight with Condit is very controversial."
- He repeatedly mentioned that many people, including him, thought that Hendricks lost to Josh Koscheck in his next-to-last fight.
- He repeatedly said he thought Hendricks did deserve a title shot though and that "he will have his turn."
It's a very good performance from GSP. He's open, personable and logical and explains his decisions very clearly and consistently.
I agree that the UFC and GSP made the right choice by giving Diaz the next WW title shot. Unless Anderson Silva were willing to come down to 170lbs by June, Diaz in March is far and away the best choice. If GSP wins that one he could potentially fight Hendricks in the summer.