Cesar Gracie: Nick Diaz Deserves The Respect Of Having Big Fights

nick diaz

Long disenfranchised with the day-to-day grind of being an elite MMA fighter, it was no surprise to hear UFC welterweight and middleweight Nick Diaz tease retirement for the third time in as many fights after his unanimous decision loss to Anderson Silva at last Saturday night’s (Jan. 31, 2015) UFC 183 from Las Vegas, Nevada.

He stepped down for a lengthy absence after his two prior bouts, losses to Carlos Condit and Georges St. Pierre, and he made even more waves by failing the UFC 183 post-fight drug test for marijuana, his third such offense.

Although he will almost certainly be facing a substantial suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) should he ever decide to come back, his longtime coach Cesar Gracie believes it will to happen nonetheless.  Appearing on The MMA Hour this week, Gracie said that Diaz would only return for big fights (which we obviously already knew):

READ MORE:  'Mentally weak. Drug addict, needs rehab' Sean O'Malley scolds Conor McGregor

“Let’s face it,” Gracie said. “He’s a fighter and he’s gonna fight. It’s gonna happen. I think a guy like him is better served doing big fights, no matter where they’re at,” Gracie said. “Seriously, no matter where the fight is — even if he has to go down a lighter weight than even 170. He wants big fights. That’s what motivates him. I think that’s what the greatest guys did was they didn’t look so much at weight classes, but they looked at the big fights that motivate them.””

The big fights may be all that that motivate the polarizing Diaz, but at some point his credibility in terms of getting them will certainly go down the drain. He’s a great fighter and a major draw; that’s for sure. But with an 0-3 record in his last three bouts and his last win coming in 2011 over a shell of the former lightweight champion in B.J. Penn, there just isn’t much that Diaz offers the elite level of MMA talent regardless of how many fans he gets talking.

READ MORE:  "There is war on the line" Modestas Bukauskas Talks UFC 304 late night fight

Of course that may not matter at all, as the UFC has made it abundantly clear that pay-per view (PPV) numbers and controversy matter more than actual fighting skill and relevancy. That’s no surprise; this is prizefighting, after all.

However, Gracie believes that Diaz should only be in the top-level bouts like a match with Vitor Belfort or a rematch with current welterweight champ Robbie Lawler:

“Who wouldn’t want to see Vitor Belfort or someone like that fight Nick?” Gracie said. “Or who wouldn’t want to see maybe Nick beat a 170-pounder and then fight [Robbie] Lawler if that’s what they have to happen? There’s different scenarios I think that would be fun.”

Ultimately Gracie doesn’t want to see Diaz fight any younger and/or rising talents, believing him to be above that. That is a statement we’ve heard Diaz himself make time and again, and all it does is serve to further the sense of entitlement that his popular but now ineffective golden boy carries around with him like a chip on his shoulder:

READ MORE:  Conor McGregor provides update on UFC return, toe injury status: 'The foot is fully healed'

“I don’t want to see Nick go out there and fight some guy he never heard of at 170 or some up-and-comer,” Gracie said. “He’s already past all that. He deserves the respect of having big fights.”

So we already know that Diaz and Gracie want big fights and big fights only, yet there are some major roadblocks to any of those actually coming to fruition in the form of Diaz’ slipping motivation and his looming suspension from the NSAC.

Will he return to the Octagon anytime soon? And if he does, who would be a realistic “big fight” for the quickly fading former Strikeforce champion?

Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports