Oh how quickly things can change.
In early September the UFC was gearing up for what promised to be a battle for the ages. The good guy champion, Georges St. Pierre, against the bad guy challenger, Nick Diaz, over the Halloween weekend.
"Rush" was respectful throughout the build to the match-up, always considerate of his opponent. The Stockton slugger, though, held no such compunction. He had respect for his foe's skill-set, sure, he just despised the way he utilized his talents.
Whether or not that's true is irrelevant. That's the angle Diaz took then and it's the angle he maintains to this very day, despite the fact that he's now squaring off against B.J. Penn at UFC 137 on Oct. 29 in Las Vegas and St. Pierre is no longer on the card, out until early next year with a knee injury.
It's certainly not Diaz's job to put over "The Prodigy," but his obvious admiration for the Hawaiian's abilities coupled with his dislike for the French Canadian's style of fighting, has led him to dish out quite the complement:
"B.J. Penn is a much more dangerous fighter than Georges St. Pierre. If I lose a fight to Georges, it's him holding me and not fighting the whole time. If I lose to B.J. Penn, he's probably going to take me out with a right hand or he's going to get on top someway and end up in position, probably get mount, take the back, put on a choke and finish the fight, you know? Georges is just going to look to do enough to win the fight. Every fight that he does. I doubt that would have worked out with me the same way that it does with a lot of the other fighters. I think I have the tools to do what it takes to make something happen in those five rounds."
That chip Diaz carries around has clearly remain nestled right there on his shoulder, again, despite the fact that he's no longer fighting an enemy.
Now he's fighting a friend.
That's likely why he's heaping such praise on Penn. When the two step inside the Octagon with each other there will be a mutual understanding that whoever walks out the victor will have earned it the hard way.
No lay-n-pray here, folks.
That's good news for fans and even better news for business. But let's be real, Maniacs. Is B.J. Penn a more dangerous fighter to Nick Diaz than Georges St. Pierre would have been?