At UFC 137 in October, Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz will collide with UFC kingpin Georges St Pierre in the first champion vs. champion fight since Zuffa bought Strikeforce out in March.
Diaz, who has actually vacated the Strikeforce belt in order to get a shot at the UFC version held by St. Pierre, faces the difficult task of being the one to dethrone the French-Canadian where the last seven elite contenders, including his teammate Jake Shields, have tried and failed.
So how does Diaz plan to finally overthrow the UFC’s most popular current champion? The answer: triathlon training.
“Triathlons make fighting easy for me,” says the Stockton-born 170lb’er. “MMA fighters don’t like conditioning. Fighters do conditioning workouts anyway – they’re just no damn good at them. They suck at these workouts. They run up hills and hit tires and wear weighted vests and do lots of crazy stuff I got past years ago.
“Fighters are afraid of conditioning. I don’t want to have anxiety or be afraid of anything. I can go 100% out there and I don’t have to worry about it.”
As it has become custom to Diaz, he will again incorporate triathlons into his training regime ahead of his clash with GSP. Diaz has been competing in the triple endurance events for some time and has even competed in the infamous Ironman competition, consisting of a 2.5 mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a 26.2-mile marathon run.
Diaz believes his dedication to competing in triathlons is the reason why his cardio far surpasses any other fighter, while he also insists that it’s developed his mental toughness, giving him the psychological edge over all others, including St Pierre.
“Fighting is 90 per cent mental and knowing that 15 minutes or 25 minutes are no problem can help you sustain that mental advantage over your opponent,” says Diaz. “What’s 25 minutes when I’ve been pushing 80 per cent of my maximum aerobic threshold for three hours?”
With St Pierre also known for using other disciplines in preparation for his title defences, the question now is what has the UFC welterweight champion got up his sleeve in answer to California’s very own cardio crusader.
For more on triathlon training and Nick Diaz don’t miss the current issue of Train Hard Fight Easy magazine, packed with tips on how you can run, cycle and swim your way to Octagon glory.