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UFC 158 will be a clash of opposites

Saturday night's pay-per-view fight in Montreal pits welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, who could be seen as the face of the organization, against Nick Diaz, who follows his own rules.

March 15, 2013|By Lance Pugmire

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It's the company man against the bad boy. The fitness freak against the unapologetic pot smoker.

Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre is as close to the face of the brand as any fighter in the organization.

Stockton's Nick Diaz is the black sheep, someone who marches to his own beat, has blown off planned news conferences and tested positive for marijuana after his most recent fight.

St-Pierre (23-2) has chafed at how "disrespectful" Diaz (27-8-1) can be. Diaz has all but labeled St-Pierre a sell-out phony tailored to corporate sponsorship.

"I'm going to solve him with my fists hitting his face," St-Pierre said last week before UFC 158, a pay-per-view event Saturday night at Montreal's Bell Centre.

With the exception of a 2007 upset loss to Matt Serra, St-Pierre has been champion since 2006 and won 10 consecutive fights — the most recent a decision over Carlos Condit in November that marked his return from knee surgery.

St-Pierre said he dealt with no ill effects from the knee in beating Condit. "This is the fight everyone wants to see. I believe we'll bring out the best in each other and it'll be my greatest test yet," St-Pierre said about facing Diaz.

Against Diaz, St-Pierre will confront a talented striker who has considered a boxing career.

"I'm here to fight because people want to see real skill level … boxing … traditional jujitsu … mixed martial arts," Diaz said. "They don't just want to see five minutes of holding."

With "Georges, they got somebody over there powdering his nose out, and they're going to send him off for a video shoot," Diaz said.

"My life's a mess, I'm not afraid to admit it, you know, I work hard regardless through this [stuff], but I don't have people toweling me off and handing me water bottles left and right and getting my training ready for me. I've got to do all that on my own."

St-Pierre said he's not a UFC shill.

"There's a lot of things I don't like to do, but I do them because there's no perfect job," St-Pierre said. "You have to be a professional. A guy like Diaz shouldn't be a champion."

UFC 158, $44.99 on pay per view, also includes Condit (28-6) against hard-hitting Johny Hendricks (14-1) in a welterweight fight.

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimespugmire

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