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Diaz vs. Silva: It's Going to Be Fun, but Will It Be Competitive?

Carlos Condit, left, and Nick Diaz stare each other down as referee Steve Mazzagatti separates them at the end of the third round during their UFC interim welterweight mixed martial arts title match, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012 at The Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Condit won by unanimous decision. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
Eric Jamison/Associated Press
Matthew RyderFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2014

Fun fight.

Superfight.

Competitive fight?

Since the fight gods sent their messenger down from the mountains to announce Nick Diaz vs. Anderson Silva last week, there's been plenty of postulating on how the bout could be categorized.

Everyone knows that it's going to be a fun bout, a meeting of two of the sport's great personalities who also happen to be two of the most uniquely talented strikers in the game.

Diaz, with his tireless pace, inherent ruthlessness and lashing fists, against Silva's calculated backward steps—each one spinning a web to end with a finishing blow from one of eight incredibly deadly limbs.

Many would argue that it's a superfight, the first of its kind since perhaps Georges St-Pierre and B.J. Penn met a second time at UFC 94.

That's a term that's often thrown around too loosely and has historically been reserved for champion-versus-champion bouts (that almost never come to fruition), but with two of the promotion's biggest stars coming together here, it may very well apply.

But who can say for sure that it's going to be a competitive bout? For however long it lasts, it's sure to be enjoyable as a viewing experience, but it's hard to know what the MMA world is signing up for when it watches.

For all his promotional bluster, star power and in-cage savvy, Diaz has lost two straight and will be nearly two years removed from his last fight by the time he meets Silva. He's moving up from welterweight, where he's relatively undersized, to fight a man who has fought multiple times as a light heavyweight and never lost there.

On top of that, he's a stylistic delight for Silva, as Diaz is willing to walk forward until he wipes you out or he's vanquished trying. A lifetime of perfecting the art of counterattacking has equipped Silva with the tools not only to vanquish, but to vanquish in a fashion that usually finds its way onto highlight reels and video game covers.

The only questions that people have about Silva are his leglast seen in two pieces as he was carted from the Octagon on a stretcherand his age. How will those two things affect his performance, and have they robbed the sport of the great Anderson Silva?

No one can say for sure, but it's not unreasonable to imagine that if his leg wasn't capable of handling the rigors of the fight game, he wouldn't be cleared to compete by a doctor. It's also not unreasonable to suggest that, at 39 years old, Silva isn't in his athletic prime anymore but is still good enough to perform at a very high level.

You don't go from the greatest ever to totally horrible overnight, and even with the injury layoff, it's hard to imagine Silva getting trounced by a smaller man who has the style to play right into his hands.

They're all hypothetical at this point: What will Diaz look like as a middleweight with two years of his prime spent on the sidelines? What will Silva look like at his age and after his devastating injury? What sort of kinetic poetry will they create when the gloves are touched (or not...probably not) and the brawl begins?

Nobody knows.

That's what makes it fun.

That's what makes it super.

If the right version of Anderson Silva shows up, though? There's reason to believe the world will know pretty quickly that it isn't competitive.

 

Follow me on Twitter @matthewjryder!

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