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David Castillo: Why the smart money’s on Nick Diaz beating BJ Penn

By Zach Arnold | October 17, 2011

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Since the odds opened up at the sportsbooks for this fight, I’ve noticed that there is a strong belief that Nick Diaz will beat BJ Penn in two weeks at UFC 137 in Las Vegas. I’ve yet to figure out a way, in my mind, in which Diaz beats Penn. There’s just too many variables in favor of Penn winning the fight and more paths for him to win outright than for Nick to win. However, a lot of money has been coming in on Nick to win the fight. The fight is now a virtual pick ’em at the ‘books. This astounds me.

So, I set out to find someone who could articulate in a written article the way in which Nick beats BJ for this fight. For the most part, the responses I got were from people who think BJ is going to win but would be willing to put aside their feelings to make the argument for Nick. I wanted to find some true believers in Nick Diaz. David Castillo was gracious enough to send me this article in order to lay out the case as to why Nick Diaz should be as strongly favored as BJ Penn for their UFC 137 fight.

David Castillo can be found on twitter at @DavidCastilloAC and Head Kick Legend, the unlikely home for the intersection between combat sports and culture.

While fans may have felt something was lost when Nick Diaz fumbled his chance at the title with his antisocial behavior in playing the role of Dr. Richard Kimble at Cesar Gracie’s home, we’ve also collectively gained with one of the most intriguing matchups in all of MMA. Both Nick and BJ Penn are incredibly gifted fighters, and they bring as much attitude inside the cage as they do outside of it. I’m not sure Penn will be licking Nick’s blood off his gloves when all is said and done, or if Nick will be spouting vulgarities at Penn mid-fight, but I can’t wait to find out.

So who wins? With the numbers even on this match, do the oddsmakers know what the experts don’t? Part of why many people give Nick a good chance to win is psychological. Nick is on a ten fight winning streak. Regardless of competition (much of which was respectable enough), Nick simply has the “hot hand”. He hasn’t lost since 2007. Results like that go a long way with fans. Conversely, Penn is 1-2-1 in his last four, having dropped two fights to Edgar, and nearly became 1-3 against Fitch, who clowned him in the 3rd round of their fight.

However, for Nick, there are still questions about his competition “respectable enough” or not. He’s facing the same narrative many talented fighters outside of the UFC have always faced: the inexperience against top tier competition. Right now Jake Shields is dealing with his defeat: but not against GSP, but to Jake Ellenburger, a fighter who simply wasn’t high on many top 10 lists before his victory over Shields. Is Nick Diaz just a big fish in a small goldfish bag like so many other non-Zuffa fighters? Compounding the issue is that Nick Diaz already fought in the UFC with a 6-4 record. He wasn’t a washout, as is sometimes assumed: in fact, he was on a 2 fight winning streak before signing with Gracie Fighting Championship to leave the UFC.

But the blueprint had been written in his four losses: you beat Nick by holding him down. Or were they? Fans tend to be have short term memories. In Nick’s four losses in the UFC, two were lost in the grappling department; to Karo and Diego (this was especially true in Diego’s case, who nearly secured an armbar in the 3rd round of their fight). And the other 2 were essentially lost on the feet: to Riggs, and then to Sherk (who had trouble getting Diaz down, and resorted to boxing for significant portions of the fight). Nick has shown steady signs of improvement over the years, and if you want proof, compare him to his fights with Mike Aina and his first fight with KJ Noons all the way to the Noons rematch. Under normal circumstances I’d say the jump up in competition would too much, but Nick has been there before. Moreover, as Nick himself is all too eager to remind everyone, his losses were in hotly contested bouts.

Tag to that the fact that no one has ever run away with an easy victory over Nick, and given his improvement over the years, I think it’s fair to say that the jump up in competition won’t be a factor. Plus he’s motivated. Nick is nothing if not dedicated to the sport (despite the temper tantrums). He may seem irresponsible away from the cage, but inside he’s acutely aware of his duties, and that awareness tends to pay dividends.

I’m picking Nick, and in several hundred words I’ll explain why. Let me first say that I don’t think Nick is the better striker of the two. Penn is quicker, has more power, and has tremendous instincts as a counter puncher. For all of the praise fans and the media heap on Nick for his boxing ability, it’s only ever come in firefights against opponents all too willing to slug with him. Santos, Daley, Zaromskis, and Noons stood right there in the pocket and simply gave him too many opportunities to accumulate the kind of punishment Diaz needs in order to win the fight. He’s a “death by a thousand cuts” kind of puncher, and will never be mistaken as a bong worshiping welterweight version of Ernie Shavers.

For sure, Nick is neither fast (like Edgar), or physical (like Fitch). Penn has only ever lost this way, so if Nick can’t threaten in the way Edgar and Fitch did, why would Nick stand a chance? Well, I think the problem with this line of thinking is that it assumes Penn can only ever lose two ways.

Nick gives Penn a new look. Of all the strikers Penn has fought, he’s never encountered an opponent willing to get in his face. The guys that were, like Diego Sanchez, just weren’t very good on the feet. I’d never consider making the comparison of Nick Diaz with Frankie Edgar, but Edgar confounded Penn in the rematch. Yes due to superior speed, and agility, which Nick almost defiantly lacks, but it revealed that BJ can be flustered in fights.

Moreover, Penn can get caught reacting too much, making him at times inert. When you look at BJ’s losses, part of the problem stems from the fact that he’s too willing to let his opponents dictate the pace and rhythm of the fight. Even in his victory against Florian, Penn was content to let Kenny stall the fight against the cage. It wasn’t a big deal at UFC 101 because Florian was no GSP, but it’s how Fitch and GSP found success (despite the draw in Fitch’s case).

Of course, Fitch and GSP couldn’t be more different than Nick, but it illustrates BJ’s proclivity to react more than actively engage. And so it’s possible Penn, like the opponents Nick beat, does get caught in a firefight. But I just said Penn is the better boxer…

Well, I do believe that. Part of that believe stems from the fact that even in beating guys like Daley, Zaromskis, and Santos…Nick still had some trouble. For one, he’s pretty hittable. If a guy like Zaromskis can find the sweet spot, why not the much more brilliant Penn? I agree, but despite this, I think Nick’s ability to wade through the firepower of Paul Daley also illustrates what should be his ability to wade through Penn’s. Nick didn’t just get hurt, and win with a hail mary punch. He got hurt, got back up, and kept pressuring until his opponent broke. If Paul Daley’s left hand couldn’t discourage Nick, why would BJ’s? In a dogfight, you can’t ignore Nick’s resolve, and it’s a factor in this fight precisely because Penn will oblige Nick on the feet.

My argument more or less rests on the assumption that Penn won’t take the fight to the ground. Not because he respects Nick’s ground game (Penn is the one with a Mundials gold medal, not Nick), but because he himself loves to scrap. You can probably count on one hand the number of times Penn has actively sought to take the fight to the ground. Penn’s instinct to go for the takedown is usually motivated by a fighter that’s hurt (see Florian and Stevenson). But even where desperation requires it, as we saw against Frankie Edgar in the rematch, Penn doesn’t seem keen on doing so. In his fight against Jon Fitch, Penn was executing what felt like a fresh gameplan by initiating the wrestling, but he seemed to ditch it in the later rounds.

Even so, despite what I think is the advantage for Penn on the ground as well, it’s not as if Nick is chopped sativa on the ground. Diaz is comfortable on his back, and won’t be in any danger of being submitted so long as he has his faculties. But can Diaz actually submit Penn off his back? To torture the MMA cliche, ‘anything can happen’. Though I highly doubt it, if Rani Yahya, an ADCC veteran and winner of the 66kg division in 2007 could get submitted by Gesias Cavalcante, why not Penn by Diaz? Two different fighters, sure, but a medal isn’t submission proof and both have considerable experience, and know how to capitalize with a submission. 

If we fast forwarded to a parallel universe where Nick wins by TKO victory, Nick’s path is on the feet. He takes a few like he always does, loses the first round, but keeps coming. Establishing distance to keep from being countered with regularity, Nick maintains a boxing pace Penn simply can’t keep up with. Penn doesn’t always fight to his strengths, and he seems confused when things don’t go his way.

On top of that, perhaps it’s fair to ask whether or not Penn is fully motivated? One of the most bizarre narratives going into this fight was the promo dispute involving Penn and the UFC where BJ made an issue out of making a prediction for the fight. He’s only ever not fought for the UFC in five bouts. It’s weird to think how the UFC constructs their pre-fight interviews would suddenly be an issue. Does he have too much respect for Nick? Could that be a factor? On top of everything, a Penn win means a third fight with GSP should Condit lose. Is Penn keenly aware of his place in the division? Few people are interested in a potential third fight. Though Zuffa could always sell it as a faux-trilogy given the first fight’s controversy. But BJ took a significant beating in the rematch. Was the beating enough to remind Penn that WW is not his true home? For all of Penn’s talents, and accomplishments, he’s been chased out of LW, and WW with both current champs having beaten him twice. To what degree does this affect BJ’s mindset?

Regardless of who loses, the fans win. While much has been made of the UFC 137 switcheroo, I think these should have been the proper matchups in the first place, with Nick earning himself a shot at the title with a much better win than what his opponents in Strikeforce could offer.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 58 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

58 Responses to “David Castillo: Why the smart money’s on Nick Diaz beating BJ Penn”

  1. nottheface says:

    Ah. my old nemesis David AC. So odd to be agreeing with him.

    Penn is the better fighter. Career wise. More accomplished. More talented, in both BJJ and boxing. And, for numerous reasons, I’m picking him to lose.

    He’s approaching 33 and hasn’t looked 100% motivated (or maybe he’s just getting older and tired of the strain?) since the Sanchez fight. He’s also not only 1-2-1 in his last 4, but since returning to the UFC in 2006 he’s 1-3-1 at WW. Sure, the competition has been world-class, but still – he just doesn’t look as good at WW as he did at LW. Now throw in the fact that he is not particularly well known for his takedowns meaning he’ll be standing and exchanging with another (admittedly inferior) boxing enthusiast in Nick DIaz who also has an iron chin, endless stamina, and a 3″ reach advantage. As matchups go. this looks like a poor one for BJ in my book.

    And if you are not checking out Mr. Castillo’s regular postings you are only hurting yourself.

    • Kelvin Hunt says:

      Not known for his takedowns? Penn’s wrestling is very underrated IMO..and he’ll have no problems getting Diaz to the ground if he wishes to take it there…and he absolutely should take Diaz down.

      • Nottheface says:

        The old BJ, the one who took people down before he fell in love with boxing? Sure. But since coming back to the UFC in 2006 he’s had something like 9 takedowns in 40+ rounds. He should take Diaz down… but I doubt he does.

        • Steve4192 says:

          BJ’s takedowns looked pretty damn good in the Fitch fight.

        • Kelvin Hunt says:

          lol..yep @Steve

        • nottheface says:


          maybe my memory is faulty, by I remember BJ getting both his takedowns against Fitch after Fitch closed the distance with him. His one good shoot from outside, which took place the beginning of the match which caught Fitch completely off-guard, he still failed in the takedown.

          Maybe I’m wrong, but I just don’t see Diaz trying to work the clinch to help set up BJ for a takedown, or BJ successfully shooting, no matter how poor Diaz’s takedown defense is, on a opponent with 4″ of height and 4′ of reach advantage.

          Now that isn’t to say BJ couldn’t do it, maybe he’ll put on a GSP clinic. But I really don’t think it is in the current BJ’s DNA to fight that way.

        • nottheface says:

          Obviously it should be 4″ reach advantage for Diaz not 4′. He isn’t Jones.

    • Lucas says:

      Even if we accept your claim that BJ’s won’t be able to take Nick down, BJ will easily light him up on the feet. If anyone has an iron chin, it’s BJ. Diaz has a good chin but has been dropped in most of his fights. That will make a big difference. Once Nick gets tagged, BJ will follow him to the ground and submit him.

      • RST says:

        “Penn is the better fighter….and hasn’t looked 100% motivated…”

        I’d have to agree with those statements, and the second statement will make all of the difference.

        Penn could beat Diaz without much trouble, but only when he wants to.

        And all that talk about him and Diaz being buddies and mean ole Dana making him fight his friend of friends (and after his friends need to fight each other spiel Re:Shad/Jones, weird), it makes me think he’s not coming into this for the kill.

        In fact despite the obvious talents of both guys, I wouldn’t be so surprised if this turned out to be a lackluster sparring match on both parts.

  2. edub says:

    Penn is a less talented boxer with more speed and power. Just wanted to clear that up for the both of you.

    • Steve4192 says:

      I disagree. Penn also has far better technique and instincts.

      • edub says:

        Technique is close, but Nick uses his range a hell of a lot better. His instincts are far underrated (the counter short right hook against Noons in the first round of their second fight was a thing of beauty). He jabs better, his combinations are better, and the body work isn’t even close.

        The guys BJ has outboxed in his career: Caol Uno, Matt Hughes, GSP, Diego Sanchez, Sean Sherk, Joe Stevenson.

        The guys Nick has outboxed in his career: Paul Daley, KJ Noons, Mariusz Zaromskis, Takanori Gomi, Frank Shamrock (a guy who had just held his own with Cung Le).

        BJ Penn has outboxed the better fighters in his career, but Nicks record boxing against strikers is better.

        If BJ abandons the takedown he will lose this fight.

        • nottheface says:

          I think BJ is the better boxer, technique, skill, speed, etc. but Diaz definitely is the better designed boxer with his reach being foremost. His jab is active and is really going to make it difficult for BJ to close the gap. Now throw in the fact that Diaz has been adding power to his bunch of punches technique and it spells trouble for BJ if he engages him standing the whole time. Maybe BJ could find success attacking Diaz’s legs but I don’t think leg kicks are really part of his arsenal.

          But I will throw this caveat about DIaz out there – if he every gets KOed I am writing his career off. He has an iron chin now, but sooner or latter the accrued damage is going to take its toll and after that he’s going to look like Liddell or Wandy..

        • fd says:

          Other people who “held their own” with Cung Le – Scott Smith, Sammy Morgan. Truly the measuring stick of striking excellence.

        • edub says:

          Ah, one guy off the list.

          Truly the best strawman on this site…

    • RST says:

      “Penn is a less talented boxer with more speed and power”

      That seems accurate.

      What do you think contributes more to Penn also taking much less damage then Diaz?

      Penns speed, Diaz’ head movement or the competition?

      • edub says:

        Do you mean when they fight? Or when they fight other people?

        If it’s against other people I would say the competition.

        If it’s when they fight each other, it’s Diaz’s length and BJ’s cardio.

        • RST says:

          I mean when they have fought others, Diaz is always getting his face mauled.

          Penn never seems worse for wear.

        • edub says:


          I’d say the competition. I mean the people he’s beaten up on the feet (Diego, Kenny, Stevenson, Sherk, Matt) have never been known as strikers. Althought Kenny and Diego have had some success there in some fights (and Kenny didn’t really even strike with BJ, he held him up against the cage the entire time).

          If you look at Diaz’s cast it’s killers on the feet (Daley, Noons, Gomi, etc..).

  3. Wonderjudas says:

    Thank you for the article. This site is can’t miss because of fantastic pieces like this one.

  4. 45 Huddle says:

    I’m picking BJ Penn to win. In a 3 round fight, I think it’s an easy bet.

    In a 5 round fight, it would actually be a tougher call because there is always the chance Penn gasses by round 5 and gets stopped.

    Just think about how dominant Jake Shields was in Strikeforce…. And then realize that he is 1-2 in the UFC and could easily be 0-3.

    The only guy I think has a true shot at becoming a champion in the UFC from Strikeforce’s champions is Gilbert Melendez. The rest will be “exposed”.

  5. fd2 says:

    “Part of that believe stems from the fact that even in beating guys like Daley, Zaromskis, and Santos…Nick still had some trouble. For one, he’s pretty hittable. If a guy like Zaromskis can find the sweet spot, why not the much more brilliant Penn? I agree, but despite this, I think Nick’s ability to wade through the firepower of Paul Daley also illustrates what should be his ability to wade through Penn’s.

    Nick didn’t just get hurt, and win with a hail mary punch. He got hurt, got back up, and kept pressuring until his opponent broke. If Paul Daley’s left hand couldn’t discourage Nick, why would BJ’s? In a dogfight, you can’t ignore Nick’s resolve, and it’s a factor in this fight precisely because Penn will oblige Nick on the feet.
    My argument more or less rests on the assumption that Penn won’t take the fight to the ground. Not because he respects Nick’s ground game (Penn is the one with a Mundials gold medal, not Nick), but because he himself loves to scrap. You can probably count on one hand the number of times Penn has actively sought to take the fight to the ground. Penn’s instinct to go for the takedown is usually motivated by a fighter that’s hurt (see Florian and Stevenson)”

    So you just acknowledged that Diaz can and has been hurt by less talented boxers than Penn, but you believe that even if BJ hurts him, he’ll get back up and come at him again. And you believe this because you think BJ won’t take the fight to the ground, because usually he only takes it to the ground against a fighter that’s hurt.

    Do you see the problem in your logic here?

  6. EJ says:

    Nick is going to be dominated and finished by Penn in the first round, this is one of the easiest calls i’ve ever seen. Diaz is incredibly hittable and his boxing is overated, Penn will pick him apart hurt him then either choke him out or just knock him out. The hypetrain on Nick is going to come crashing quicker than it did for Pettis and Shields, he’s out of his league in the UFC and UFC 137 will prove it.

  7. Stel says:

    well about those 4 ufc loses …
    Diaz clearly won against Riggs, bad judgement call.
    Diaz vs Sherk could have gone either way, but I gave it to Diaz for octagon control.
    Diaz vs Karo was razor thin, could have gone either way.
    Diego was able to get a pretty clear cut decision by going crazy against Diaz, but petered out in the third rd.

    Also its a tougher fight for Penn than Condit, and I would say Penn is an easier match than GSP for Diaz.

    Really, all Penn has are take downs over Diaz, they won’t do him much good as Diaz is smoking down there.

    • edub says:

      -Diaz didn’t beat riggs. He had one good moment in the fight. Riggs controlled the fight, and outboxed him.

      -Sherk should have won a 30-27 UD in the fight. He landed the better strikes, got takedowns and dominant positions at will on Diaz.

      -BJ Penn is way ahead of Nick when it comes to BJJ.

      With all that being said, I still think Nick stops him in the third.

  8. 45 Huddle says:

    And speaking of fighters who stock was overpriced due to wins outside of the UFC….. Jorge Santiago has been released by the UFC.

    The UFC is a completel different animal. Something Nick Diaz will once again remember soon enough.

    • RST says:

      I wonder if they were paying him too much.

      He’s not a bad fighter, as good as a lot of guys that are still there. Stann and Maia aren’t complete schmoes.

      • edub says:

        That’s what I said right after the fight.

        He either needs to be cut, or take asked to take a pay cut because he was given a decent sized contract coming in.

  9. Nepal says:

    Penn showed he has powerful takedowns in his Fitch fight. The book on Diaz is he can’t stop TD’s. He’s been training with Shields for years so you would have to guess it’s improved but he really hasn’t fought a wrestler in many years so we don’t know. However, BJ will likely go for the TD and wrestling control and try to get mount and his back and an RNC.

    If that doesn’t work, his striking will likely be better than Diaz’s. The Diaz “hold your hands in the air and wait to counter” strategy will likely not work well vs BJ. BJ is fast, accurate and has power.

    BJ should win this with the obvious qualifier… if he can’t finish in the 1st 2 rounds, he could get stopped in the 3rd. Otherwise he’ll win 29-28.

  10. JCW says:

    Some people are thinking about this too much. Penn will win because he’s better at everything.

  11. fd says:

    edub says:
    October 18, 2011 at 1:28 pm
    Ah, one guy off the list.
    Truly the best strawman on this site…

    I wasn’t so much commenting on your list as I was amazed that somebody actually considered “holding your own with Cung Le” to be some kind of barometer of striking excellence.

    Also you should probably look up what “strawman” means.

    • edub says:

      Well, if I were to breakdown your comment it would be even worse:
      Scott Smith held his own with Le after getting beaten up for two rounds, and Le gassed (that was after almost two years away from the cage). I don’t think I have to bring up what happened in the rematch. Sammy Morgan didn’t hold his own with Cung Le. He landed a few punches then was picked apart until the bodykick stoppage.

      Cung Le is great striker. His accolades and fights in MMA prove it. That is why Shamrock was an idiot for striking with him (and still held his own).

      • RST says:

        I have a hard time measuring Cungs striking.

        It sure doesn’t look like much, but that might be because he’s got an odd style.

      • fd says:

        “Sammy Morgan didn’t hold his own with Cung Le. He landed a few punches then was picked apart until the bodykick stoppage.”

        Frank Shamrock landed a few punches and was picked apart till the arm-break stoppage, so I really don’t see why one guy “held his own” and the other didn’t.

        “Cung Le is great striker. His accolades and fights in MMA prove it.”

        His “accolades” come from careful management in San Shou where he fought almost exclusively hand-picked cans, and kickboxers with little to no san shou experience (who he then dominated via takedowns). He actually has a few San Shou losses that don’t appear on his “official” record, most notably getting knocked around by Bazigit Atajev.

        If you think Cung Le throwing flashy kicks while demolishing a series of cans and journeymen leading up to the Shamrock match “proves” he’s a great striker, I guess we’ll agree to disagree. My opinion has always been that how you look against the bottom of the division is meaningless, what matters is how you look against the top – and Cung Le never even showed that, since he never fought his way higher than the middle.

        • edub says:

          But we’re talking about MMA here. I completely agree that he became popular off of a handpicked San SHou career. But he does also hold some notable wins in that career as in straight kickboxing. I never meant that his accolades as a top tier kickboxer were that amazing. I meant that he is a seasoned kickboxer competing in MMA (which would make him a good striker in MMA), that’s it.

          If you think that how Frank handled Cung is the same way Sammy did then we will definately have to just end the disagreement there because I believe differently.

    • RST says:

      Got your reply button all mixed up huh?

      They are kind of difficult to wrangle.

      There’s too many of them and they all look the same to me.

  12. 45 Huddle says:

    GSP out with an injury.

    Fighters continue to show how stupidly they train. There should never be this many injuries happening close to fight time…..

    It’s going to ruin the sport and piss off the paying ticket holders.

    • edub says:

      So now Condit’s screwed. Guess they could give him somebody like AJ or Diego.

      How many is that now for 2011?

    • RST says:

      One the one hand you hope GSP isn’t hurt badly, but on the other you hope he’s got a darn good excuse.


      • 45 Huddle says:

        Knee injury that doesn’t require surgery is not a good excuse….

        • RST says:

          I dont know anything about knee injuries, I’d like to hear more about it in this case.

          A perpetually ruined knee has wasted a lot Shoguns career, and he’s a striker.

          If GSP exacerbates a knee against a real threat like Condit, it could be even more ruinous for him since he’s much more wrestling based.

          I would assume that in some cases it might be preferable to just not make the knee worse and let it heal naturally before it can get to a point that could potentially require invasive surgery.

    • Alan Conceicao says:

      The problem isn’t the fighters. The problem is the inflexibility of the promoters.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        How did the inflexibility of the promoter cause this issue?

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          The UFC’s promotional model is based on booking a bunch of PPV dates well in advance of even having fights to fill them and then filling in those times and dates with venues and then finally fights. In boxing, when the headliner fight that everyone is paying for gets scratched 6-7 weeks out due to an injury, they reschedule the card, people’s tickets are good for it at that later date, and people just buy the PPV again. The UFC’s attitude is that it doesn’t matter what they put on. People should be happy with the tickets they bought, will buy the PPVs anyways, and so on.

          Ultimately, they put themselves at the top of the bill instead of the fighters and claim to be the ones taking the majority of the risk each event. That means they also take the majority of the blame.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Having pre-scheduled dates has nothing to do with this problem here.

          And you expect them to cancel on 20 fighters who have all had full training camps? That is the worst idea ever and even more unfair to the fighters.

          Here is the real problem…. The depth of the cards. In 2012, they will soon have 8 titles. Because of the known problem with fighters getting injured…. Cards need to be structured with this in mind.

          Every PPV either needs 2 title fights or 1 title fight and a big non-title fight. And I mean literally every card. This way if one fighter gets injured, it doesn’t mess everything up.

          And fights like Penn/Diaz need to be 5 rounds from the start that way if it needs to be pushed to main event status…. And can act like one.

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          Scheduling a year in advance has everything to do with it. They’re selling shows without fights. That is the problem. No one pays for those fights between undercard guys and no one cares about them. If they’re screwing themselves out of money as promoters to keep the guy making 8/8 happy in the opening Facebook fight happy, they’re fucking crazy. Has nothing to do with fairness.

    • BuddyRowe says:

      45 you obviously don’t understand what training is like. I’ve been rolling lightly just BJJ and sprained my LCL from just a freak pressure put down in a position I’ve been in a thousand times. It just happens and not because anybody is being reckless. A sprained knee isn’t the kind of thing you want to go into a championship bout with and potentially millions of dollars on the line. If you have a sprained knee ligament, the other ligaments kind of bear the weight. With continued activity (like say, a title fight) you risk blowing out other ligaments and making a much worse injury altogether. Perhaps a career changing injury. You need to cut GSP some slack, he never pulls out of fights and has fought through injuries in his fights on a number of occasions. Say what you will about other fighters dropping out of fights, GSP didn’t do anything wrong here.

  13. 45 Huddle says:

    This is the UFC’s year in a snapshot….. The fighters are not holding up their end of the bargain…. That much is certain.

    • UFC 125: Shane Carwin Injured (Co-Main Event)
    • UFC FFTT2: Kenny Florian Injured (Main Event)
    • UFC 128: Rashad Evans Injured (Main Event)
    • UFC FN 24: Tito Ortiz Injured (Main Event)
    • UFC 130: Frank Edgar & Gray Maynard Injured (Main Event)
    • UFC 131: Brock Lesnar Injured (Main Event)
    • UFC Versus 4: Anthony Johnson Injured & Nathan Marquardt Drug Test Issues (Main Event)
    • UFC 132: BJ Penn & Jon Fitch Injured (Co-Main Event)
    • UFC 133: Phil Davis Injured (Main Event)
    • UFC 135: Diego Sanchez Injured (Co-Main Event)
    • UFC 137: Georges St. Pierre Injured (Main Event)

    • edub says:

      And that’s not even counting the two times Rashad came into the ring after Jones fought. Once Jones pulled out of the supposed match up. The next Rashad did.

    • RST says:

      Interesting so many main and Co-mains.

      You’d have to think that that must be a large part of the decision to not go in less then fully capable.

      Its a big opportunity with a lot of eyes on you.

      I suppose its not beyond imagining that some guys figure that the price if you get smoked, either as direct punishment from Zuffa (its happened) or from a general loss of momentum in your career (also happened) outweighs the price for just calling in sick that day.

  14. edub says:

    You guys think there is any shot at Thiago Alves getting moved to the card to face Condit?

    • edub says:

      NM. Dana just turned down Koscheck to take the fight on 11 days notice so I doubt he’d pull Thiago.

    • RST says:

      Kos is a nut.

      I think that would be a good fight.

      As a fight at least.
      But the fanbois hate Kos so he wont make up for losing GSP. In fact that would probably just make them even more pissed off.

      Also I think Dana twittered that Condit still gets GSP in a few months so he might as well wait.

      Best to save Kos and Fitch for Condit later IMO instead of them potentially picking off all the challengers.

      (And best to keep Fitch and Kos away from Diaz for awhile to.)

  15. Three says:


    This match-up reminds me of the Sugar Ray vs. Marvin Hagler fight insomuch as Ray need someone like Hagler to get up mentally and fight at his highest level.

    I would agree that BJ hasn’t looked all that great as of late, but, Diaz is someone who BJ respects.

    That being said, I think we might see the best BJ ever.

    Respectively, Diaz’s defense isn’t all that great and BJ’s boxing skills are the better of the two.

    It comes down to who wants it more, and or will the short prep time effect either’s performance against each other?

    In my humble opinion.


  16. […] White no longer understands his stable of fighters. Take a look at what a Fight Opinion site commenter recently stated about the amount of canceled/postponed fights due to injuries or drug testing […]


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