Nate Diaz had one fight left on his UFC contract and the only way to free himself from the “limited” promotion was to lace up the gloves and compete.
Naturally, UFC President Dana White wasn’t going to let one of the promotion’s top pay-per-view (PPV) draws go out on a high note because that would allow a competitor to make bank from a star UFC helped create.
And I’m sure White and Co. wanted a little payback for all the shit Diaz has been talking over the last 15 years, including but not limited to dirty contracts, hostage negotiations, and pee-stained walkways — not exactly the best way to represent the company.
So matchmakers cooked up a “live execution” for UFC 279.
The original plan was to have Diaz fight undefeated welterweight sensation Khamzat Chimaev, a punishing wrestler who routinely out-grapples Top 10 middleweight contenders in his free time. Not surprisingly, Chimaev opened as the -1100 betting favorite.
But you know what they say about best laid plans ...
Chimaev missed weight for his UFC 279 headliner on Sept. 10 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and the promotion was forced to rework the PPV card. Diaz was hastily paired off with fellow ex-lightweight Tony Ferguson while Chimaev was sent down to the co-main event opposite the equally-heavy Kevin Holland.
“Borz” destroyed “Trailblazer” in the opening round.
His scale fail, however, may keep him from earning the next shot at the welterweight title. As for Diaz, he went on to submit the free-falling Ferguson in the fourth frame to improve to 21-13 with 12 submissions. So not only did he escape his “cruel” destiny, Diaz now gets to bargain from a position of strength.
Can we expect another run in UFC?
“All I know is it’s been a love-hate relationship with the UFC the whole time I’ve been in this fucking organization, but at the end of the day I love the UFC,” Diaz said during his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan. “Right now I feel like I’ve had the longest career in the UFC and I’ve had the most successful one. I outdid everybody on pay, I outdid everybody on surviving, and I want to get out of UFC for a minute and show all these UFC fighters how to take over and own up another sport.”
Diaz is expected to try his luck at boxing, a sport where former UFC welterweights like Tyron Woodley and Ben Askren have come up short. The obvious choice would be YouTube sensation Jake Paul; however, “The Problem Child” will first need to get past former UFC middleweight Anderson Silva next month in Phoenix.
It would also require Diaz to walk back these comments.
“Conor McGregor didn’t know how to do it and none of these other fighters know how to do it,” Diaz continued. “So I’m gonna go out there and take over another profession and become the best at that, show everybody I’m the best at that, and then I’m gonna be right the fuck back here to get a motherfucking UFC title, the best title in the world.”
McGregor was stopped by Floyd Mayweather back in summer 2017.
The 37 year-old Diaz had his fair share of trouble over the years, missing weight and racking up double-digit losses, but he was also one of the few fighters who played the game by his own rules, not unlike his older brother Nick, and got to exit UFC on a win.
And more importantly, on his own terms — despite the promotion’s best efforts.
For complete UFC 279 results and live play-by-play click here and here. To check out the latest and greatest UFC 279: “Diaz vs. Ferguson” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.