Nick Diaz makes his much anticipated return to the UFC later this month as he headlines UFC 183 January 31. For this fight, Diaz takes on the returning Anderson Silva - arguably the greatest striker in the history of MMA. To get ready for the fight, Diaz has brought in an interesting training partner.
Glory Middleweight champion Artem Levin is making his way to Stockton and is helping Diaz prepare for the formidable striking challenge posed by the Spider. Levin has a kickboxing and Muay Thai record of 50-4-1, and is coming off a win in the Glory Last Man Standing PPV tournament; that win earned him Fighter of the Year accolades from many kickboxing writers (including yours truly). He's a top 10 pound for pound fighter in kickboxing today, and will be a great addition to the Diaz camp.
Interestingly, Russian fighter Levin was introduced to the Diaz camp by none other than Joe Schilling. Schilling has trained with the Diaz brothers in the past, and has become friends with Levin through their two fight rivalry in Glory. Here's what Schilling had to say to Michael Stets at MMA Mania about the Diaz/Levin connection:
I want to get Nick the best kickboxers in the world to work with... Levin has a similar height and range and style to Silva's and I think it will be really good work for Nick. Levin is hard to hit, has that herky-jerky head movement like Silva, and also fights as confident as he does. I asked him to come out and he is going to come out a couple of times between now and Nick's fight and we will all spar together.
A serious, world class talent, Levin clearly has something to teach Diaz about fighting Anderson Silva. It will be interesting to see if this helps Diaz deal with Silva's incredible defensive skills.
See how it all plays out at UFC 183, Saturday, January 31.