Diaz fought above his usual 170 pounds twice before in his Strikeforce days, handily beating both Frank Shamrock and Scott Smith in heavier catchweight contests. So he can attest to the positives that come from skipping the sport's dreaded weight cut.
"I had less problems with energy," Diaz said on a Thursday conference call. "Like when I fought at 170, especially if I fought three times a year, I can't say I'm going to be 100-percent at one of those fights. You know, I'm never really 100-percent in any of those fights, because it's so hard to have perfect preparation for fighting and cutting weight and making 170 pounds, and being in the best shape for training camp and to make that cut. When you have a fight a few months before that, if you fight three times a year, it's hard to do that three times in a year.
"So I came out more to my potential, like as far as athleticism and strength, in those fights, of course."
Diaz's catchweight run ultimately gave way to one of his career's greatest accomplishments, when he captured the Strikeforce welterweight title in 2010, then defended it three straight times before inking a deal to challenge then-UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre at UFC 137.
That fight, however, never came to fruition. Diaz found himself replaced by Carlos Condit after missing several media obligations, and though he eventually went on to lose a one-sided decision to St-Pierre 17 months later, Diaz believes things would have gone differently had the accumulated stress of repeated weight cuts not been a factor.
"I think if I had to fight Georges St-Pierre when I made that deal (with the UFC), I think I would've won," Diaz said. "But I had [one] more [fight] at 170, and then another fight at 170 -- same thing, three fights a year real quick, without a big break, so it's hard to come 100-percent with that much fighting. So I didn't feel to the fullest of my potential in my last fight.
"In as good of shape as I was, for whatever reason, I came out really flat," Diaz added. "Not a good warm-up. Like, usually I have really good warm-ups, but you know, I couldn't. No sweat. I couldn't get warmed up and it just didn't feel great, so I think [being at middleweight] might eliminate that problem, for the most part. ... Not that I can't come out to the fullest of my potential, at 100-pcerent, at 170 pounds. I think I could do that. I just think that things didn't work out as well as they could've for me last time around."