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UFC notebook: Nick Diaz goes off again; Johny Hendricks gets title shot with win

Diaz lets his mouth run some more at Montreal press conference



UFC President Dana White stands between fighters Georges St-Pierre, left, and Nick Diaz, right, as they address each other during a mixed martial arts news conference in Montreal, Thursday, March 14, 2013. The pair will meet in a UFC 158 title fight in Montreal on Saturday.

Say this much for Nick Diaz: In the rare instances when he does decide to show up for media functions, he makes it worth everyone’s while.

A day after skipping an open workout, Diaz arrived on time and participated in the UFC 158 pre-fight press conference Thursday at the Bell Centre. He apologized for the prior absence, but said working out for the cameras and granting a few interviews on Wednesday morning was impractical after landing in the hometown of opponent Georges St. Pierre Tuesday night.

“I recommend for any fighter, as I would for any of my students, to go ahead and sweat out some of that toxic water you’re holding from the airplane,” Diaz said. “It’s got to happen. You can’t be going to bed with that toxic (expletive) inside of you when you’ve got a fight in the next couple of days.”

Believe it or not, that piece of unorthodox wisdom might have been the least outlandish of Diaz’s comments. Diaz went on several more rants during a press conference that UFC President Dana White cut short at 25 minutes two days before he challenges for the welterweight title.

His recurring motif Thursday was that St. Pierre has sold “wolf tickets”, an arcane slang term meaning talk used to intimidate an opponent, leading up to their long-awaited bout. Diaz took particular offense to St. Pierre calling him a bully years ago.

Recounting the incident, Diaz glared at St. Pierre and rattled off some questions.

“How many times have you had a gun to your head, Georges?” Diaz asked. “How many of your best friends have been shot through the chest with a 45? Or how many of your best friends have been stomped, put to sleep into a coma? We’ve all had to deal with these things in life. How many kids put gum in your hair growing up? Should I go further back? We have to deal with these things. It’s hard times for everybody.”

Much like last week’s conference call, St. Pierre was stupefied. He tried to respond, but could only get a few thoughts in before Diaz cut him off.

“Are you crazy in your head, man?” St. Pierre countered. “You will see Saturday if you think I’m scared of you, man.”

Diaz insisted he didn’t think St. Pierre was scared, claiming he only once said otherwise in order to have a better chance securing a title shot. But it also goes the reverse: Diaz is in no way scared of St. Pierre either.

He recounted an incident from two years ago that showed his lack of concern for the champion. Diaz said he encountered St. Pierre at Mandalay Bay before one of his fights.

“I don’t think he had any business being there, on my side of the hotel and out in the lobby,” Diaz said. “I’m going to be working there, I’m going to be in and out for any number of reasons. I guess he was coming out of the elevator or something and I stood my ground. He’s going to try to walk through me and he’s not going to walk through me. I’m going to stand there with a hard look on my face and he’s going to edge himself through the wall to get by.”

Agree or disagree with the things Diaz says, he feels like he answers every question more honestly than any other fighter — perhaps even when he shouldn’t. Diaz made White cringe when he responded to an inquiry about coming off of a marijuana suspension and if the drug would be an issue at UFC 158.

“I’m sorry if I don’t pass the test, but I think it should work out,” Diaz said. “I passed plenty of them before unless they just weren’t testing me. I wonder how much they test people around here.”

How is St. Pierre really handling all of this?

St. Pierre tried to reason with Diaz on a couple other occasions before getting too frustrated and eventually giving up.

“I’ve never seen Georges like this before,” White said. “Today, he was short. He was testy. It’s just weird. This fight has Georges different.”

White was able to shed more insight on St. Pierre’s mentality than the champion himself. White thinks Diaz’s ramblings are getting to St. Pierre more than he lets on.

St. Pierre’s goal, according to White, is to beat Diaz up so badly that he retires. But if St. Pierre comes with a wild approach, it’s expected to favor Diaz.

St. Pierre excels in technical matches, while Diaz is an all-out brawler.

“I actually think, as crazy as Nick Diaz’s rants are, there is some strategy in there,” White said.

One more win and the wait is over for Johny Hendricks

In between the never-ending main-event drama, White dropped some major news.

White said Johny Hendricks would next fight for the welterweight title if he defeated Carlos Condit in the co-main event of UFC 158 Saturday night.

“The guy who comes out of this fight the winner is definitely the No. 1 contender,” White said.

White later clarified that the stipulation only applied to Hendricks and not Condit, who just lost to St. Pierre less than five months ago. He couldn’t correct his mistake in the moment because, as was the theme, Diaz interrupted with more words for St. Pierre.

Hendricks was probably one of the only people in the room to not enjoy Diaz’s attacks. Based on fighting, Diaz has what should rightfully belong to Hendricks.

The former All-American wrestler at Oklahoma State is ranked as the No. 1 welterweight in the world after winning five in a row, but got surpassed by Diaz for the opportunity to face St. Pierre. Hendricks wasn’t dwelling Thursday, however, especially not after hearing the top-contender confirmation.

“That’s what I was hoping for,” Hendricks said. “One more fight to get better and to also face another top opponent. If I get a win over him, it’s awesome.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at

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