Another headlining Main Event starring Nick Diaz has come and gone and once again he has walked out of the arena with the championship gold around his waist. His costar for last night’s Main Event fight, Paul Daley, was supposed to be his toughest test and the one that was finally going to dethrone him from the top of the division. Unfortunately for Daley, things didn’t quite go his way.

When the fight was announced, many minds began salivating at the thought of the trash talk that would go down between the two. However, in the weeks leading up to the fight, there was virtually no trash talk other than the routine “I’m going to knock him out”. Things were relatively calm between the two up until the day of the weigh-ins. After each man stepped off the scale and squared up for the routine face-off, that’s when things got heated. As Diaz stepped up to Daley to pose for the picture, Daley threw down his hat and let his mouth start flying. In true Nick Diaz fashion, he reciprocated Daley’s “kind words” and gave him an earful of his own. Things got so intense that Scott Coker had to get between the two and send them off the stage.

All the incendiary ingredients had finally been mixed together and all that was needed now was an ignition source to start the fireworks. That ignition source would come just over twenty-four hours later in the form of a locked cage with both men inside. As is the norm, both fighters were brought to the center of the cage to be given instructions by the referee and given the opportunity to touch gloves if they wanted. When the two came together, their mouths began flying again. First, an unheard statement from Daley that provoked Diaz to respond with some not-so-friendly name calling. Then, the moment to touch gloves and it was a no-go, which came as a surprise to nobody given the circumstances.

As the bell sounded, both men rushed to the center of the cage, and Diaz immediately drops his hands and opens his mouth, daring Paul Daley to hit him. Daley comes in swinging for the fences and Diaz returns the favor. For about four and a half minutes, the fight goes back and forth, with each man taking turns getting rocked and then recovering. A big left knocks Diaz face down on the canvas and Daley swoops in, but Diaz quickly recovers and gets back to his feet. By this point, the crowd is going crazy and it appears that everybody is on their feet.

A short while later, Diaz has Daley up against the cage, throwing bombs that would take the average man’s head off. A grazing right hook lands and as Daley tries to close in on Diaz to recover, Diaz shoves Daley off of him and he crashes to the ground. Immediately, Diaz smells blood and jumps on him, all the while dropping lefts and rights nonstop until referee Big John McCarthy pulls him off and calls the end to the fight. As Daley looks up from his back, stunned, the crowd goes nuts and Diaz runs around the cage celebrating.

Diaz did what many said he wouldn’t be able to do by standing and taking punches from Paul Daley and leave the cage as the champion.  He put on the show that the fans wanted to see instead of fighting safe and just taking Daley to the ground. Nick Diaz also showed that he can take the big punches and be able to recover and continue fighting. When it comes to conduct, Diaz isn’t the best guy to model yourself after, but when it comes to having heart he is second to none.

Immediately following the conclusion of the bout, the big question began getting asked; who is next for Nick Diaz? Now that Strikeforce and UFC are under one umbrella, the possibility of co-promotion bouts are more likely to happen and Diaz’s list of potential opponent is virtually endless. However, Scott Coker hinted that Tyron Woodley would be the next in line to try to take the belt from Diaz.

Nick Diaz continues to prove the doubters wrong every time he steps in the cage. He’s proven that he can use his BJJ expertise to submit guys on the ground and he’s proven that he can stand and trade with powerful punchers and still come out on top. The only place that Diaz really hasn’t been tested is the wrestling aspect, which he has admitted he has been trying to improve. If he were to face Woodley, he’d be facing an excellent wrestler that can also throw hands; just the kind of guy that is tailor-made to take out Diaz.

In a post-fight interview with Ariel Helwani, Diaz stated that he thinks he is going to get suspended but wouldn’t say why. After the fight, he shoved a camera out of his face, which might be what he feels will warrant him a suspension. He also stated that he is the “most over-trained, over-worked, under-paid fighter in the company” so it may be a few months before we find out for sure who will be his next opponent.

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