UFC president Dana White revealed this week during an appearance on UFC Unfiltered that the world’s leading MMA promotion is looking to add another big fight to this summer’s UFC 227 card, which goes down Aug. 4 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The main event of the evening is scheduled to be a five-round bantamweight title fight between champion T.J. Dillashaw and challenger Cody Garbrandt, and White says the promotion is hoping to book a lightweight bout between former UFC welterweight and middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre and the popular Nate Diaz. That fight is not official yet, but if White and the UFC matchmakers get their way, this bout will serve as UFC 227’s co-main event.
There’s no doubt a fight featuring GSP and Diaz would be a money fight as both men are proven draws. We’ve seen GSP headline or co-headline some of he biggest pay-per-view cards in UFC history, and Diaz’s fights against Conor McGregor made him a star. From a financial point-of-view, it makes sense that the UFC would be looking to have these two fight. After all, we saw the huge numbers GSP brought in when he fought Nate’s brother Nick five years ago, and clearly the UFC feels it can replicate those numbers by pitting GSP against Nate. In the era of “money fights,” there’s no doubting that GSP vs. Diaz would be one of the biggest fights the UFC could book right now. It might be the only fight, outside of a bout against Conor McGregor, that could convince either GSP or Diaz to return to the Octagon. Maybe the UFC’s plan is to have the winner fight McGregor either later this year or early next year once his legal troubles are dealt with.
But while GSP vs. Diaz is a money fight, it’s also a mismatch. Even with GSP dropping down to 155lbs for the first time in his career if this fight indeed happens, he holds a massive stylistic advantage against Diaz as his takedowns should be just as dominant against Nate as they were against Nick when GSP fought him back at UFC 158. In that fight, GSP just took Nick down at will and held him on the ground until the 25 minutes expired. While the lead-up to GSP/Nick was incredible, the fight itself was boring. I’m afraid GSP vs. Nate would be very similar. We’ve seen in the past that Nate has a big problem with strong wrestlers, and when he can be taken down and controlled the results can look ugly.
Just look back to Nate’s fights against Rory MacDonald, Rafael dos Anjos or Benson Henderson to see what he looks like against a fighter with strong wrestling. The UFC will sell fans on the possibility of Diaz latching on a submission off his back, or even catching GSP with strikes on the feet before the fight his the ground, but MMA fans are smarter than that. We all know GSP’s game plan will be to take Diaz to the ground and repeat doing that until the final bell rings, and there’s no reason to believe GSP won’t be able to implement this kind of game plan considering Diaz has shown no signs of improvement as far as his takedown defense goes. Especially with Diaz having not fought in nearly two years, it’s just hard to see him being truly competitive if he goes in there and fights arguably the greatest MMA fighter of all time in GSP.
It’s easy to see why the UFC wants to book this GSP vs. Diaz fight. After all, while Dillashaw vs. Garbrandt is a solid matchup, it’s not really a blockbuster fight, and the UFC clearly wants a big co-main event to prop up PPV buys at UFC 227. There’s no doubt that a matchup between GSP, one of the biggest draws ever, and Diaz, who showed late in his UFC career that he can draw, would bring in big money for the promotion. But stylistically this fight is a big mismatch and it’s hard to see it being competitive, even with GSP’s move down to lightweight. GSP’s takedowns are just too strong and Diaz’ takedown defense is just too weak to think this fight would be close. It would look just like GSP’s fight against Nick, and that fight wasn’t enjoyable to watch. If this is the only fight that can convince GSP and Nate to come back to the Octagon then you can understand why the UFC wants to book it, but fans shouldn’t be expecting a close fight here. Rather, expect another GSP blowout.