Despite not competing professionally since his bout with Anderson Silva at UFC 183 over three years ago, Nick Diaz remains one of the most respected names in mixed martial arts (MMA).
His track record speaks for itself, which is why Diaz could return tomorrow and still have massive appeal among hardcore fight fans and casual onlookers who’ve filled the Diaz void by watching Nick’s little brother Nate.
As a respected voice in MMA, especially when it comes to fighting itself, Diaz is able to spark much thought with his words. That’s exactly what the 34-year-old seems to be doing with his recent remarks about football players transitioning over to the cage.
“You know what, football players, they actually do best in MMA,” Diaz told TMZ Sports earlier this week. “A lot of times, you get a lot of wrestlers, and they get into the whole thing, and they’re very one-dimensional. They develop a lot of bad habits.”
Point made. A good one at that.
While wrestling is a strong base in MMA, and in some cases the strongest, those type of athletes do get caught up in one aspect of fighting, often taking away from their evolution in other departments like striking and jiu-jitsu. It doesn’t happen across the board, but it happens enough to grab the attention of a proven veteran like Diaz.
When it comes to the crossover potential of a professional football player, Diaz’s comments do hold water. Athletes of that nature usually have tremendous success in MMA. It’s impossible to prepare their chins for the impact of a fist fight, but the explosive athleticism and natural capabilities of a football player is simply more vast than that of a wrestler.
Of course, we’ve seen world-class wrestlers come into MMA before and absolutely tear through the competition (i.e. Daniel Cormier). But if you had to put your stock into an evolving fighter learning the ins and outs of professional combat, you’d probably pick the football player, too.