While his non-stop striking has earned him countless victories and the title as one of the busiest boxers in the mixed martial arts (MMA) 170-pound weight class, famed boxing trainer Freddie Roach isn't "impressed" with the punching technique of Nick Diaz.
It's not that Roach doesn't admire the Stockton slugger, calling him a "tough guy," he just thinks Diaz's striking technique and footwork could use a bit more work. And despite being one of the better punchers in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) ranks, Diaz -- according to Roach -- just doesn't fight like a fighter.
His words (via Fight Hub TV):
"He's a tough guy, ok. He won't tap out and he's a tough guy. I've never met the person. He might be one of the better punchers in UFC, but he doesn't fight like a fighter. He doesn't shuffle in his combinations and doesn't put any power behind his shots. He walks forward in a straight line and he walks backward in a straight line. I'm not really that impressed with his boxing. But, a lot of the UFC guys are from a different background than a boxing program. Most of them are wrestlers and they are more comfortable with the ground game. I'm training "Shogun" Rua right now and he's punching like crazy right now. He can hit with both hands. But, when I first got him, he hit like a girl."
Roach went on to say if his opponents continue to play into Diaz's game and let him walk them down in a straight line, it's game over:
"So Diaz, he walks forward with combinations. If you walk forward in a straight line he will kill you. But, the thing is that you just can't let him do that. You can't give him momentum."
Maybe Greg Jackson and Co. were on to something with the gameplan that was created Carlos Condit (more on that here) when he defeated Diaz at UFC 143, refusing to sit in the pocket and let Diaz box him up. Indeed, "The Natural Born Killer" circled incessantly, fired off combinations, retreated and then repeated en route to a controversial unanimous decision.
Roach went on to reveal that UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre -- who has spent considerable time training inside his Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles, California -- has put in some glove work in the famed gym ahead of his main event fight against Diaz that will take place later tonight (March 16, 2013) at UFC 158, which takes place at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Perhaps a few sessions with Roach -- rather than tough rounds with WBA/WBC Super Middleweight Boxing Champion Andre Ward over the years -- would do wonders for the Cesar Gracie-trained fighter's boxing. It's apparently doing just that for Mauricio Rua.
Fair technical assessment or just another conflict of interest?