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School's in Session

Written by Tom Ngo
April 1st, 2009
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School’s in Session – There is no escaping Father Time. You see it in every sport, an accomplished elder statesman clinging on while a brash youngster tries to knock him into retirement. Get ready for “Shamrock vs. Diaz” this weekend.

“As a fighter Nick is a very skilled dude,” said Shamrock of Nick Diaz. “He’s well rounded with his stand up, and he’s well rounded on the ground. I certainly respect him as a fighter. I think he’s the real deal.”

Frank Shamrock is one of MMA’s pioneers. In fact, if mixed martial arts had a Mount Rushmore, his melon could very well be one of the four etched on the boulder.

He’s fought in almost every country, however made a name for himself when he took the UFC by storm nearly 10 years ago. Now at 36 years of age, Shamrock feels that his career has come full circle.

“I was that guy at one point, without all of the F bombs and middle fingers, and I’ve also seen that guy come and go quite a bit,” said Shamrock. “Nick is a game striker. To me, it’s just part of the game. I actually like it from Nick because I need that antagonist, someone to help sell this fight besides just me. It’s nice to have someone that’s willing to extend themselves a little bit, and work for it. I certainly don’t agree with his methods, but they get the point across.”

Diaz is more than willing to extend himself. In fact, he extended his middle finger directly in Shamrock’s grill at the Strikeforce presser just last month.

“As a personality, I think Nick has a long ways to go [laughs], to being a role model, or a leader, or a good representation for MMA, but you know, everyone has their own flavor,” expressed Shamrock.

All clowning aside, Shamrock knows that Diaz is a skilled fighter and that he needs to be careful wherever the fight may end up.

“He throws a lot of combinations and that’s always a problem because they count,” said Shamrock. “His combinations do damage and they mix up the rhythm. He’s very tall so he will have the reach advantage for knees and elbows, those kinds of things. Also, he’s a really good ground guy, and he’s a long ground guy. Me being a shorter fighter, I use a lot of short, explosive movements, but when you have length, a lot of that length is able to overpower those short movements. I see a challenge there.”

Although Shamrock believes that Diaz may be able to neutralize a lot of his strikes, he ultimately sees himself putting the youngster to bed.

“It doesn’t matter to me how the fight ends,” explained Shamrock. “The fight is going to go the way it’s going to go, but the odds are, I’m probably going to knock Nick out. Just because that’s where my main focus is going to be, but I’ll take whatever is given to me, I’m not picky.”

The two will be meeting at a catch-weight of 179 pounds this Saturday at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California. You can catch all of the main bouts airing LIVE on Showtime.

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