Paul Daley has other business on his fighting agenda before he can lock up a Strikeforce welterweight title shot against current champion Nick Diaz, but that doesn't mean the hard-hitting Brit isn't already looking forward to the possibility of facing Diaz.
Daley needs to win a Feb. 26 match in the UK with Yuya Shirai, and if he does, a date with Diaz awaits him.
While Diaz recently said he's "not impressed with Paul Daley as a mixed martial artist" aside from his standup, Daley indicated on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour that he'd have more than enough firepower to wrest the belt from him.
"I hit unlike any other welterweight in MMA," he said. "I will knock Diaz out. I will knock him out."
While Daley admitted the questions about his ground game have some legitimacy, he said he's spent much of his recent time improving his wrestling and jiu-jitsu skills. But according to him, more important than that is his belief that Diaz wouldn't be able to take him down in the first place.
He noted that Diaz is not a decorated wrestler, and would have difficulty bringing the fight to the ground, where he likely holds an advantage.
"Nick doesn't have great wrestling," he said. "Most of his takedowns come from the clinch or he's dropping guys with bodyshots, but that ain't gonna happen with me. Yeah he's fast but he's not explosive like me when it comes to MMA. He's got great conditioning, yeah, but what happens when I'm moving three or four times as fast as anybody he's fought in the past? How's he going to deal with that?
Daley (26-9-2) has won three straight since being cut from the UFC and has captured seven of his last eight overall. Of his losses, five have come via submission.
As for his thoughts on Diaz's weekend win over Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos, Daley was not overly impressed.
"I thought Diaz was OK," he said. "I thought he's been more impressive in other fights. And I thought Cyborg was predictable. I kind of thought after the first round he'd be done because of wind. The guy used to fight at heavyweight, so it's not going to be easy on his body to go to welterweight. Diaz, the guy fights from everywhere, uses punches and kicks. Then it went to the ground. It wasn't really impressive because I expected him to beat Cyborg. It was an OK performance."
In explaining why he's putting his potential title shot at risk by taking a fight in the UK organization BAMMA, Daley explained that after beating Scott Smith on Dec. 4, he turned down a proposed January 29 title fight with Diaz to "enjoy Christmas." Afterward, Strikeforce told him he'd likely face the Diaz-Santos winner in March, but was given no guarantee, leading him to take a fight and collect a paycheck elsewhere.
"It wasn't told to me I risked the title shot, but I accept that," he said. "If you are a contender or in a position to contend for the title and you fight ... and you've lost, why should you still be the No. 1 contender for Strikeforce? So, although they didn't tell me when I took the fight, I wouldn't expect it any other way."
Daley, as always, was a quote machine when it came to his thoughts on several topics. Here's a sampling of his thoughts on other subjects, including a rare compliment to Diaz.
On Diaz's hope of facing boxer Fernando Vargas...
"I think he'll get his ass whooped if he fights Vargas. Competing in MMA and boxing with these guys is one thing. Fighting a professional boxer at his game is another thing, and I know because I spar regularly with boxers as he does. So he's gaining confidence sparring with [unbeaten pro] Andre Ward and guys like that, but they're probably just playing around with him."
On thoughts of fighting KJ Noons...
"I was so confident that I would've bet my new house on it, that I would beat him within three rounds by KO, so I just wanted to prove a point, not only to new Strikeforce fans I have, but to Nick Diaz and the promotion."
On the possibility of fighting Tyron Woodley...
"[My manager and I are] both like what the f---? This guy is trying to call me out? Strikeforce is saying fight this chump. Even though he's 9-0, what's this guy got to offer me? He ain't Josh Koscheck. He ain't Jake Shields. He's not on that level and he's never fought anybody of my level, either. I think it's crazy they would've put that fight together because I would've messed him up really bad."
On UFC champ Georges St. Pierre beating his old rival Koscheck...
"I enjoyed watching Koscheck lose against Georges St. Pierre but I'm kind of disappointed GSP didn't finish the fight. He won the majority of the fight but I really wanted GSP to finish him. I just want to see him finish a guy like he did to Matt Hughes or like he used to do back in the day. I'm a big fan of GSP, but he used to be a champion that used to go out there and fight pretty much the way Nick Diaz does as a champion, just lay it all out there. It was a good fight. I have nothing personal against Koscheck, but he's a d---."
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