Why Georges St. Pierre vs. Nate Diaz Makes All the Sense in the World

Nate Diaz could meet Georges St. Pierre next UFC 241
Nate Diaz Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

It might take all the stars aligning just right, and hardcore fans may hate it, but Georges St. Pierre vs. Nate Diaz makes all the sense in the world.

Could we potentially be in the era of the super-fight? Years after Georges St. Pierre vs. Anderson Silva, Jon Jones vs. Anderson Silva, and Brock Lesnar vs. Fedor Emelianenko all fell through for one reason or another, it feels like the UFC is finally ready to book a bounty of super-fights. Unless you’re Demetrious Johnson. Having already booked St. Pierre vs. Michael Bisping and the upcoming Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier, a number of other huge fights are on the horizon.

The most recent, as confirmed by none other than UFC President Dana White, is GSP vs. Nate Diaz. To be clear, this is not a done deal. Far from it. But White admits that the promotion is targeting UFC 227 in August, and they want the younger Diaz vs. the Canadian superstar to top the card.

Already, fans are asking why, as if some reason other than money is necessary at this point in the UFC’s existence. They’re a business, and must somehow justify their continued operation. Yet the fight makes almost too much sense in the short term. Because GSP vs. Diaz isn’t about one fight. It’s about three.

Lets assume, for the sake of argument, that St. Pierre can make the lightweight limit. He’s never given us reason to doubt anything he’s ever done, frankly (except going to his dark place, which seemed rather well lit, all things considered). So if he says he can make the weight, we’ll believe him. That gives us the most unexpected lightweight match-up of all time in GSP vs. Diaz.

Yet there’s more. Assuming Conor McGregor is still down for a September return — and don’t for a second think that his legal issues in New York are really going to slow him down — then there’s McGregor vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov. A fight that in reality became bigger in the wake of McGregor’s tantrum/bus attack in April.

Both those fights are million buy fights on PPV. In a year where the promotion has struggled to capture the attention of fans, they’re must-watch, must-buy events. And if the stars align just right, the winner of each could be paired up at the promotion’s big New Year’s Eve show.

Frankly, the UFC would be insane not to book the foursome in this fashion. No matter who wins or loses, fans win. The promotion wins in the short term. And whatever logjam it creates, given the fact that the four fighters have a combined six appearances in the octagon since August 2016, can be resolved easily. We know how much the promotion likes interim titles, after all — they’re like Oprah handing out gifts at this point. You get a title, and you get a title, and-!

Does this scenario leave the likes of Kevin Lee, Dustin Poirier, and Eddie Alvarez out in the cold? It sure does, but they’ll get their shot in time. In the meantime, with a new streaming deal with ESPN and a broadcast television deal still to come, it’s time for the UFC to move the needle again. The prospect of Khabib vs. GSP, or GSP vs. McGregor, would do it. Between three events, the promotion could easily pull in upwards of three million buys. Something that would make 2018 for the UFC.

It would put the spotlight back on the MMA powerhouse, at just the right time. In an era where marquee fights are what matters, the fact that these fights are even a possibility is all the reason needed to book them.

Check out Cageside Jay and Cageside Mike in the inaugural episode of The Drive In podcast, where we’ll go further into GSP vs. Diaz, plus tackle the UFC/ESPN deal!