Tuesday, March 12, 2013 | 2 a.m.
- Fed-up Nick Diaz rips into Georges St. Pierre verbally before UFC 158
- UFC 158: A glance at the Georges St. Pierre-headlined card on deck
- Georges St. Pierre explains why he's fighting Nick Diaz at UFC 158
- Georges St. Pierre has reservations about likely fight with Anderson Silva
- Johny Hendricks only interested in fighting Georges St. Pierre
- Athletic commission suspends Nick Diaz
- Debate rages on after Carlos Condit slips past Nick Diaz at UFC 143
- Knee injury takes Georges St. Pierre off of UFC 143 in Las Vegas
- UFC 137 victory leads Nick Diaz to title shot against Georges St. Pierre
- Georges St. Pierre out of UFC 137 with knee injury
- Dana White: ‘Nick Diaz obviously can’t handle the pressure of a main event’
- Dana White: Georges St. Pierre vs. Nick Diaz slated for UFC 137 in Las Vegas
- Champions St. Pierre and Aldo encounter more resistance than usual at UFC 129
- Even as Strikeforce welterweight champion, Nick Diaz feels disrespected
- UFC coverage
- All MMA/boxing coverage
Not many fights in UFC history approach the level of animosity that will be on display Saturday when Nick Diaz challenges Georges St. Pierre for the welterweight championship in Montreal.
And the few that have, for the most part, came together in a timelier manner. Trying to keep up with the two welterweights’ feud over the past three years has been as difficult as thwarting a St. Pierre takedown attempt.
Side effects of attempting to recount exactly how the two arrived at their UFC 158 meeting likely include headache and heartburn.
Luckily, the Las Vegas Sun has it covered. Check below for a timeline of events that led to Saturday’s long-awaited clash.
The origins of the rivalry trace farther back than most think — at least in Diaz’s mind.
Nine years ago, Diaz, then 20 years old, and St. Pierre, 22 at the time, were two of the most promising up-and-coming welterweights on the UFC roster. They both won their first two bouts, but the promotion put St. Pierre into a title fight with Matt Hughes at UFC 50 and booked Diaz against Karo Parisyan at UFC 49.
Hughes submitted St. Pierre in the first round, while Parisyan took a split-decision victory over Diaz. St. Pierre responded by winning his next five fights in the UFC to earn a rematch with Hughes that he won.
Diaz went 2-3 and the UFC released him, but he resented St. Pierre for getting what he considered a faster track to the title.
“You got that fight and you won that fight, all right,” Diaz said to St. Pierre last week. “But you know, I was coming right behind you.”
Diaz bounced around for three years after his first exit from the UFC, fighting for five promotions, so never making a bout with St. Pierre seemed like a strong possibility.
Diaz settled down with Strikeforce, where he extended a win streak to 10 fights, in this time frame. He started to enter the discussion as one of the best 170-pound fighters in the world and subtlety began hinting that he wanted to face the UFC’s champion.
The most memorable example came during a rant on a January 2011 conference call ahead of his bout against Evangelista Santos — which Diaz ultimately won by second-round submission — where he also declared he would beat St. Pierre.
“GSP’s making a couple million dollars,” Diaz said. “I’m over here driving a (expletive) Honda because my (expletive) is breaking down.”
Diaz did something that would prove uncharacteristic over the next couple of years before the biggest event in UFC history. Even though the UFC had just purchased Strikeforce to essentially make a St. Pierre vs. Diaz matchup more conceivable than ever before, Diaz kept quiet.
That’s because his longtime teammate Jake Shields was facing St. Pierre in front of nearly 56,000 fans at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. As soon as St. Pierre cruised past Shields with a relatively uneventful unanimous-decision victory despite partially losing vision from an accidental eye poke, Diaz piped back up.
He began criticizing St. Pierre’s performance, later noting to MMAjunkie.com that “he doesn’t want to get his (butt) whipped by me the same way he got his (butt) whipped by Jake — the night we went to the press conference and Georges went to the hospital.”
For the first time, St. Pierre joined in on the Diaz talk after defeating Shields.
The Canadian superstar, who had just won his ninth fight in a row, welcomed a bout with Diaz. He never explicitly responded to the continued trash talk, but St. Pierre rattled off Diaz’s championship credentials as a reason for wanting to face him.
With Diaz threatening to try his hand at professional boxing if he couldn’t secure the fight with St. Pierre, UFC President Dana White made it happen. White, through a tweet, announced St. Pierre vs. Diaz would headline UFC 137 on Oct. 29 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Diaz YouTube video (Warning: Explicit)
The excitement for what promotional materials billed as a “champion vs. champion” fight was short-lived.
St. Pierre sat on a dais at Mandalay Bay with an expression of disbelief. Diaz had skipped two straight press conferences, prompting White to pull him out of UFC 137 and give the opportunity to face St. Pierre to Carlos Condit.
“I would have never done something like that,” St. Pierre said. “I’ve trained 10 years for this — the UFC, the world title, this. To me, this means everything to me. I just don’t understand how someone doesn’t show up to an important thing like this. I just can’t believe it. It’s amazing. I don’t know what to say. It’s crazy.”
This is the moment where Diaz turned from someone admittedly just running his mouth to secure the fight he wanted to actually holding a grudge against St. Pierre. Taking no responsibility for not fulfilling his obligations other than posting a YouTube video in which he said, “Sorry I didn’t make the beauty pageant,” Diaz complained that St. Pierre didn’t protest ditching the fight.
“I really don’t appreciate this (expletive) sitting there at the press conference and laughing at me,” Diaz told MMAjunkie.com. “That’s some real (expletive) (expletive). He’s sitting there laughing like it’s funny or something.”
UFC 158 commercial
In the end, St. Pierre couldn’t fight on this night anyway.
He tore his meniscus less than two weeks before the bout against Condit, leaving a matchup between Diaz and B.J. Penn to serve as the main event.
Diaz battered Penn for 15 minutes, securing a unanimous-decision victory. What happened next is immortalized on a commercial that’s aired as much as the Geico Gecko ads in the past couple of months.
Diaz stomped around the octagon yelling, “Where you at, Georges? Where you at, (expletive)?” When commentator Joe Rogan gave Diaz a microphone for his post-fight interview, he didn’t calm down.
“I don’t think Georges is hurt,” Diaz said. “I think he’s scared. I think he’s scared to fight everybody right now.”
Sitting cageside, St. Pierre turned livid. He tracked down White before the post-fight press conference and demanded a bout against Diaz instead of the one expected against Condit.
“He’s the most disrespectful human being I’ve ever met, and I’m going to put the worst beating you’ve ever seen on him in the UFC,” St. Pierre said, according to White.
White slated the second attempt at St. Pierre vs. Diaz for Feb. 5, 2012, at UFC 143.
Motivated by Diaz’s taunts, St. Pierre attempted to rush back from his injury for the annual Super Bowl weekend card in Las Vegas.
It’s a costly mistake as the champion tweaks his knee again. This time, it’s worse. St. Pierre tore his ACL, which would keep him out for nearly a year.
He’s left “praying” that Diaz can defeat Condit in an interim welterweight title fight to set up their long-awaited showdown. St. Pierre’s wish isn’t granted.
Despite several media scores to the contrary, Diaz falls to Condit by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47).
There will be no opportunity to seize the microphone and call out St. Pierre in front of a raucous Mandalay Bay crowd on this night. Instead, a disgruntled Diaz says he’s thinking about retiring from MMA.
With Diaz serving a suspension for testing positive for marijuana metabolites at UFC 143, St. Pierre returned to beat Condit by unanimous decision in Montreal.
At the UFC 154 post-fight press conference, a reporter asked St. Pierre who was next — middleweight champion Anderson Silva or No. 1 welterweight contender Johny Hendricks. St. Pierre tossed in another name — Diaz.
Within three weeks, St. Pierre persuaded White to book Diaz as his opponent for the third time. It was more than enough to get Diaz to drop his retirement threat.
“I didn’t think I’d be getting this fight,” Diaz said a few weeks after it was announced. “I figured they’d stick me with some hard fights for a while — I’ve got to work my way back into fights and things I want in life. The way I looked at it was I needed time to see things out.”
Anyone who thought Diaz would behave in every media event ahead of Saturday’s UFC 158 was sorely mistaken.
The old Diaz came to life on a conference call last week with several profanity-laced rants, including anecdotes about soccer moms in his hometown, attacks on St. Pierre’s fighting style and rants on his opponent’s lifestyle.
“If I had that much money, I’d be (expletive) pampering myself the (expletive) up,” Diaz said. “I’d be having (expletive) pampering my (expletive) left and (expletive) right. There’d be (expletive) every hour on the hour showing up to pamper me out, period.”
Diaz’s bombardment got St. Pierre riled up on the subject for the first time in more than a year. He was no longer going to sit back and let Diaz disrespect him.
St. Pierre called Diaz an “uneducated fool” and made several comments that Diaz claimed crossed the line.
“I don’t understand half of the words you are saying because I speak English better than you, man,” St. Pierre said. “Just talk to me like a normal human being.”
But civilized conversation isn’t going to happen. Not between these two.
A fight scheduled for 25 minutes at the Bell Centre should end the rivalry between St. Pierre and Diaz. Or at least end the beginning of the rivalry.