Strikeforce have had a huge few months, no pun intended, but their schedule doesn’t offer any rest or respite in the days to come .
It’s only a few short weeks until April 9th sees a host of international talent will descend on San Diego for a card headlined by champion Nick Diaz against UK wrecking machine Paul Daley.
Daley is coming off a first round knockout win against DEEP champion Yuya Shirai at BAMMA 5 and took the time to talk to MMAHQ about his intentions for Nick Diaz and his plans moving forward.
Paul, it’s great to talk. Congratulations on your win at BAMMA 5.
Thanks a lot, it was a good one.
It’s fair to say Shirai was a lot more dangerous than he showed in that performance. Would you agree?
Yeah definitely. The guy was on a big winning streak before I fought him and he’d not been knocked out since 2006. He’s only been stopped a few times and he’s a champion for a reason.
I read a lot of people calling him a can and it discredited the victory in a lot of ways and was disrespectful towards him. You’d have thought I’d have just beaten up some schoolkid reading some of them; he’s a legit fighter and a champion for a reason.
What did it mean to you to do it in front of your home fans?
It was really good because all my family, friends and UK fans were able to see it in person and it meant a whole lot to me. It was great to get it on British TV and it’s more positive media representation for the sport.
When did you first hear that Strikeforce wanted the Nick Diaz fight to happen as soon as April 9th?
Well it was the week of my fight when I heard a few different things but Strikeforce had announced that they were moving the heavyweight tournament around a little so we expected maybe to hear something.
Not long after I beat Shirai, my manager got the call asking about fighting Diaz on 9th April. I think when Strikeforce knew that the heavyweight tournament would have to be moved then my fight with Shirai was the one result they were waiting for.
Do you think you’ve got enough time to prepare for someone as dangerous as Nick Diaz?
Well first I wasn’t going to take it because I wanted some downtime after this training camp but my team spoke about it and we’re confident that we’ve got a good game for this fight and this is the right decision for us.
I’m going to smash him, take his belt then I can take all the time off I want.
There were situations outside of your control that contributed to the weigh in situation at BAMMA but are you confident that you can hit the 170 mark at Strikeforce?
Yeah the BAMMA situation was pretty messed up because the hotel had locked the Sauna off and that situation made it pretty impossible. In the end I only missed it by 0.8lbs and with a sauna that would have come off pretty easily.
There’s no downtime so I don’t have to do as big a cut so I’m very confident that Strikeforce won’t be a problem.
Do you honestly think that Nick Diaz will stand up with you?
There’s no way he’ll stand up with me. He might think he wants to but his coaches won’t allow it; Cesar Gracie’s a great coach and he won’t want him trading punches.
What holes do you see in Nick Diaz’s game that you can exploit?
His boxing and his lack of wrestling. I’m a better athlete than he is. He’s a really dangerous grappler but he’s got to get in close enough to make it work and I’m not going to give him the chance.
Do you ever want to fight back in the UFC or do you just want to fight?
I just want to fight against decent competition and be able to live the life of a fighter and pay my bills. The thing is there’s a lot of great fighters in different organisations and the UFC doesn’t have such a stranglehold on all the best talent.
It’s great for fighters who want to fight often against good guys and maybe don’t want to fight in the UFC.
So looking on to April 9th then. What are we going to see from Paul Daley?
I’m going to smash him within three rounds. We do have a more complex game plan than that but that’s as simple as I can break it down at the minute.
Well I look forward to seeing the fight. Thanks for your time and is there anyone you’d like to thank?
Yeah thanks to Maximuscle, Humbold Nutrients, Booster Fightgear, Cherry Active, Fight-Management, Puss Out Fightwear, Engage, Bet DSI, Fearless Fightwear and Lojak Fightwear. Thanks to all my friends, family, supporters and my management.
In a day and age where Dana White criticised Anderson Silva’s performance against Demian Maia and urged him to be like Mike Tyson, it’s ironic that Paul Daley represents the closest thing to Tyson that this young sport has seen.
“Everyone’s got plans until they get hit” – Mike Tyson
An iconic quote for a number of reasons but it seems to hold up even closer in this comparative light because everyone also has a plan until they get hit by Paul Daley.
Daley vs. Diaz may turn out to be one of the most intriguing bouts of 2011 simply because the champion has proven to have a iron resolve but, if he decides to stand up for a long period of time, he runs the risk of being just another statistic of the Brit’s phenomenal knockout power.