Nick Diaz is right back where he started ... in the UFC 137 main event.
Sure, the opponent, B.J. Penn, isn't the same as Georges St. Pierre. And the former Strikeforce welterweight champion won't attempt to unify the two belts. But one thing the Stockton, Calif.,-bred fighter wants to remain the same is the duration of the fight.
With news breaking today that St. Pierre was forced out of the pay-per-view (PPV) event with a knee injury, and that Carlos Condit -- who was inserted into the top slot after Diaz flaked several times on his promotional obligations -- will wait for "Rush" to recover, Cesar Gracie has a bright idea that could help soften the massive blow to the fight card:
Make the new main event, B.J. Penn vs. Nick Diaz, a five-round fight.
In fact, Gracie, who is Diaz's long time trainer and mentor, has already informed UFC President Dana White that his boy is down to bang for 25 minutes. In addition, he encourages "The Prodigy" to do the same, telling him, "Don't be scared, homie. Let's make it five rounds."
More from Gracie (via MMAFighting.com) after the jump:
"If they can't fight five rounds against each other, how are they going to fight five rounds against GSP?... Dana is good with it. We've agreed to it. If BJ agrees to it, we'll make it happen.... These guys have to prove they are ready. These guys are fighters. BJ has always said he's a warrior. ... The old school days of MMA, back when it was NHB, they fought forever."
No word yet on whether or not Penn, a former two-division champion who has prepared for several five-round fights throughout his illustrious career, has and/or will accept the challenge.
White, for his part, is not pushing the issue with UFC 137, which will be held at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, less than two weeks away (Oct. 29, 2011). He is quoted as saying the neither man should be forced two fight for potentially 10 extra minutes because, "they haven't trained for five rounds."
Stay tuned to MMAmania.com for more on this developing story.