Fresh off unifying the welterweight title in November following an 18-month absence due to injury, UFC® welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre returns to Montreal’s Bell Centre on March 16, 2013 to face former STRIKEFORCE® champion Nick Diaz. St-Pierre (23-2) has scored 10 consecutive victories in his dominant reign atop the 170-pound division but no other opponent has motivated him as much as the fiery and unpredictable Diaz.
“Georges St-Pierre asked to fight Nick Diaz because he knows they have unfinished business, and Nick Diaz agrees,” UFC President Dana White said.
The always-diplomatic St-Pierre, 31, has defeated the likes of Carlos Condit, Matt Hughes (twice), Jon Fitch, BJ Penn (twice), Josh Koscheck (twice) and Jake Shields, but no other opponent has fueled him as much as the southpaw from Stockton, Calif. The pair was originally slated to meet at UFC® 137 but a series of events, including a St-Pierre knee injury, prevented the match up from ever taking place.
“There’s been a lot of talk about who I should fight next but this was really the only choice for me,” said St-Pierre. “He’s made it personal and I personally can’t wait.”
During his reign as STRIKEFORCE® welterweight champion, Nick Diaz defeated archrival KJ Noons and finished both Evangelista Santos and Paul Daley en route to becoming the organization’s best 170-pound fighter. He’s since returned to the UFC® with an impressive win over former two-time champion BJ Penn before an interim title loss to Carlos Condit and a year-long disciplinary suspension. Diaz now, though, gets the fight he’s so eagerly awaited.
“This is the fight I want,” Diaz said. “I want to go out there and beat Georges St-Pierre in Montreal and show that I’m the best welterweight in the world.”
In addition to St-Pierre-Diaz, four more of the UFC®’s top-10 welterweights will clash at the Bell Centre while one fighter gets a shot at redemption following a controversial disqualification loss at the same venue just four months removed.
With his recent dominating win over legend BJ Penn, Rory MacDonald (14-1) looks to avenge his only career loss against former interim UFC welterweight champion Carlos Condit (28-6). The pair met at UFC® 115 in a bout that saw Condit come from behind and register a third-round TKO win with mere seconds remaining.
Not to be overshadowed, title-hungry Johny Hendricks (14-1), coming off his recent Montreal knockout win over welterweight Martin Kampmann, will be looking to cement his place as number one contender as he meets the always-dangerous Jake Ellenberger (28-6).