Much of the narrative leading into Nick Diaz’s UFC 183 ‘superfight’ with Anderson Silva on January 31st is going to be about Silva’s broken leg and whether he’s still suffering the effects from it over a year later.
Some fighters may take the opportunity to find out first-hand how his limb is doing by targeting it in the Octagon with kicks, but Diaz says he won’t let himself get distracted by doing that.
“When someone tells you a fighter’s injured and they tell you to go after an injury, it really throws you off,” Diaz said at the UFC’s recent press conference in Las Vegas. “It would be sad to lose a fight on account of, you’re trying to concentrate on capitalizing on someone’s weakness when it comes to injury and something like that, [rather than fighting] your fight without worrying about something like that.”
Diaz is speaking from past experience, admitting that he’d fallen into that trap before.
“I fought someone a long time ago,” Diaz said. “Someone came up to me and told me that his [opponent’s] knee was hurt, and he said to me, attack his knee, I’m like, ‘Yeah right, I’m not going out to attack this guy’s knee.’ It just doesn’t…it’s not realistic to go after his injury, unless they got a cut the same week, then it’s like, yeah, hit him in the eye, because the [expletive] is going to re-open and now you wouldn’t fight on the cut. Maybe on a cut you want to take advantage of it, that makes sense.”
Diaz’s philosophy on the injury makes sense, particularly as kicking is not generally seen as one of his strengths so focusing on that rather than his tried and tested volume based boxing style could end up getting him into trouble.
Of course there could also be mind games going on here. Maybe Silva leg is 100%, maybe it isn’t, perhaps Diaz will target it and perhaps he won’t. We won’t know for sure until they meet in the center of the Octagon in las Vegas on Super Bowl weekend and it’s a fight that no MMA fan will want to miss.