On paper, the main event at UFC 137 looks like it has the makings of a classic battle. The welterweights that will face off on Saturday night, BJ Penn and Nick Diaz, are known for giving it their all when they enter the cage. With that being said, there have been some very clear, and not so subtle hints that this fight may very well not live up to the hype surrounding it. Surprisingly, those words are coming from Nick Diaz.
Both Penn and Diaz have let it be known that, through their training together in the past, they have developed a friendship. While the bond may not be as tight as the one that Diaz shares with his teammates Jake Shields, Gilbert Melendez and his brother Nate, there is still some kinship there that may make Diaz hold back during the fight.
Diaz put forth a warning of sorts that his fight with Penn may not be fought in the manner that his past battles have been when Â he told the media that assembled at the open workouts:
Â This isnâ€™t like a normal fight for me. Itâ€™s just, ah, more of a sporting competition this time around. So, um, I donâ€™t know, donâ€™t, I hope nobodyâ€™s too disappointed if it doesnâ€™t go the same as it always does.
It was surprising to hear that type of talk from a fighter that usually walks into the cage practically spitting venom toward his opponent.Â Diaz obviously has a great deal of respect for Penn and his words may indicate that the normal straight ahead style of his past fights may go out the window when the cage locks behind him and Penn on Saturday night.
All this leads to speculation as to exactly what type of fight we will witness at UFC 137. Will Diaz look to engage Penn in a glorified exhibition of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? Will he look to keep Penn at a distance and just pick his shots instead of unleashing the barrage of punches that he normally does? Or, unlikely as it may seem, perhaps Diaz is playing mind games with his comments, hoping to lull Penn into a false sense of security only to attack when the fight begins.
Hardcore MMA fans will most likely be happy to see this fight in any form it may take. However, if the fight does become a BJJ battle, the casual fan may dismiss it as boring, without realizing the strong background these two have as BJJ practitioners.
As Saturday night nears, one thing is certain; a fight that was already looking to be very interesting keeps getting more intriguing.