Nate Diaz will complete the final fight on his UFC contract by headlining the upcoming UFC 279 pay-per-view (PPV) event opposite undefeated 170-pound rising star Khamzat Chimaev, a five-round contest scheduled for Sept. 10 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Assuming Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) approves the apparent mismatch.
“It’s just a fight that shouldn’t be happening,” former UFC welterweight title challenger Dan Hardy told MMA Fighting. “I just feel very unfortunate that it’s happening and that we can’t celebrate these fighters when they’re coming to the end of their career. But it’s the UFC’s style, isn’t it? If they decide they’re parting ways with you, they try to damage you in every way possible. Unfortunately, if you’re a fighter and they want to damage you, they can actually physically do it, which is a shame.”
The outspoken Diaz has been critical of the promotion for nearly his entire career and recently complained about his inability to land fights. Some of his division rivals, however, paint an entirely different picture when it comes to behind-the-scenes negotiations, suggesting Diaz may share some of the blame.
So is the Chimaev fight punishment for public criticism of UFC?
“It feels like we’re getting to the point where someone should start thinking about pressing charges,” Hardy continued. “It doesn’t feel like a fair fight. It feels like a very, very cruel thing to do to someone that is a legitimate legend. Because they’ve spoken out against the organization, they’re going to get executed live on TV. That’s kind of how it feels, and it makes me feel uncomfortable to think that’s the way it’s going to go down.”
Diaz, who turned 37 back in April, fell to 20-13 with a unanimous decision loss to Leon Edwards at UFC 263 back in June 2021. It was the second straight defeat for The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 5 champ, who’s now dropped three of his last four. At the same time, Diaz signed the contract of his own free will and talks as much trash as anyone on the roster.
Hardy remains unconvinced.
“I think he gets beaten up horrendously from the top position,” the 40 year-old “Outlaw” continued. “I think it’s going to be uncomfortable to watch, and I think it’s going to leave the UFC in a very, very bad light. I just hope Nate comes through it alright, because I think he’s got good opportunities outside the UFC. It’s just a shame that they’re going to do this assassination attempt on him before he leaves.”
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 279 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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