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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Nate Diaz following loss at UFC 244?

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Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone, as the UFC 244 pay-per-view (PPV) fight card blew the roof off Madison Square Garden this past weekend (Sat., Nov. 2, 2019) in New York City.

Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Gregor Gillespie, who was knocked out cold by Kevin Lee (highlights). And Kelvin Gastelum, who suffered his second straight defeat after coming up short against former welterweight Darren Till (full recap here). But, which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few 48 hours removed from the show?

Nate Diaz.

Coming into his headlining bout against Jorge Masvidal, Diaz was being hailed as a bona fide needle-mover after he willed this fight into existence, even prompting the promotion to come up with — for the very first time — a gimmick belt for the occasion by introducing the $50,000 “BMF” strap.

It was also the Stockton slugger’s second fight in just three months after sitting out for three years, which was a welcome site for the Nick Diaz Army and its faithful followers. The fight became so big that even Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and President Donald Trump got in on the action in what was truly a historic event.

And let’s not forget Diaz pretty much made USADA and UFC bend the knee.

Once fight night rolled around, the contest lived up to the billing. One minute in, however, Masvidal clipped the Diaz with a standing elbow the rocked him, then followed it up with a nice kick to the head that had him tasting canvas. To his credit, Diaz weathered the storm, but the damage to his face had already been done.

Rounds two and three were once again action-packed, though it was clear that Masvidal was up 3-0 on the scorecards after 15 minutes of action. But, much to the dismay of everyone, the cageside physician decided to call the fight because of Diaz’s wounds in what was one of the most disappointing calls in recent memory, preventing Diaz from having the chance to dig deep as he usually does in the later rounds and potentially pulling off a comeback.

On that note, it also halted Masvidal’s chance to complete his Picasso. It was a disappointing ending to a fight that lived up to the hype through 15 minutes, leaving fans (and fighters) robbed of 10 more.

As for what’s next for Diaz, that may be a tough call. Both he and Masvidal want an instant rematch, as does everyone else ... everyone but Dana White.

What that means for Diaz is unknown. That said, he has already stated that he could “take forever off” pending the outcome of UFC 244, and I just don’t seem him returning to fight someone like Demian Maia or even Leon Edwards.

“I hope everybody gets on the same page and we work together,” Diaz said after the fight. “Otherwise, it might be three years off again I already can see it coming in the media with this Dana White, ‘I don’t know about that.’ That’s how it starts. I have more fights than anybody in the UFC.”

“Come back at me with some 100 percent,” he said. “Don’t play me like you have. And this is where it all starts, I can feel it already. So if we’re going to do something else, don’t be telling me I’ve got to fight Joe Blow over here, because I don’t even want to hear that, and then say, ‘We offered him fights.’ I plan on getting along with them. I hope they plan on getting along back.”

Another long layoff would be disappointing, as Diaz is one of the most enigmatic figures in the game today, and whether you love him or hate him, he draws interest and eyeballs to his fights and he puts it on the line each time. Of course, Dana White and Co. can still do a 180 and go ahead with the instant do-over, something I firmly believe should happen next.

If not, UFC better not act surprised if Diaz disappears from the fight game for a while, yet again.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 244: “Masvidal vs. Diaz” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.