We're officially less than a month away from Nate Diaz vs Khamzat Chimaev main eventing UFC 279 on September 10th, and still, much is being made about the UFC's decision to put this fight on.
It was rumored way back when (I want to say February of this year) that the matchmakers wanted Diaz to fight Chimaev - arguably the company's hottest prospect and fastest rising stars - and it seemed like a lot of MMA fans weren't in favor of the bout.
Being that this is the last fight on Nate Diaz's contract, and he's had a very tumultuous past few months with the UFC, I've seen a lot of fans suggest that Nate is being put out to pasture by Dana White and the UFC here, being set up for murder via Chimaev grapplefuck. Some UFC commentators, such as Michael Bisping, even feel this way!
Right now, the odds are the Barstool Sportsbook are as follows....
Dana White recently gave an interview with MMA Underground where he said you'd have to be insane to count Nate Diaz out, though….
“I mean, obviously, if Nate beat Khamzat Chimaev, the No. 3 guy in the world, you’d have to look at Nate, too,” White said. “Everybody’s talking … like that it’s impossible for Nate Diaz to win this fight. Nothing is impossible in fighting. Everything is possible.
“Nate Diaz wanted this fight,” White continued. “It was either this fight or Francis Ngannou. This fight makes a lot more sense than Francis does. But, you know, for everybody to think that a veteran who’s as durable as Nate Diaz can’t win this fight is insane, so anything is possible. … You get out of the first two rounds and the fight gets interesting.”
….and I kinda think he's right?! I mean - look back to Nate's fight against Leon Edwards. Dude was getting dominated for five straight rounds and then landed a shot that easily could've won him the fight….
Plus, like Dana says in that interview - Nate was literally requesting a fight with Francis Ngannou or Kamaru Usman for the UFC Heavyweight Championship of the world (almost a full 100lbs up from where he fights) or the UFC Welterweight Championship (he's 1-3 in that division over the last six years, with his last win coming over Anthony Pettis in 2019). You're gonna say the UFC is setting Nate up to fail after hearing that?! Talk about insanity!
I've actually been pretty interested in this fight since it was announced, but not because I think Nate Diaz has a great shot at winning. I just think we're gonna get a great build and lot of interesting questions answered during the fight itself.
Will Khamzat Chimaev be able to finish Nate Diaz? Removing the Jorge Masvidal doctor stoppage from his resumé, Diaz was last finished in 2013 by Josh Thompson. He's easily one of the most durable fighters in UFC history, and as Dana White has said before - Nate would win every fight if they were all 100 rounds. So if Khamzat is able to make quick work of him and defeat him within the distance, I think that's a MASSIVE question answered. If Nate is able to survive all five rounds, though, that's a different question answered on his end, and bodes very well for his value on the free agency market after this fight.
I do think he's gonna wind up signing with the PFL at some point in the near future - their founder Donn Davis told the Spinnin Backfist MMA Show that next year the PFL will be putting on non-tournament "dream fights" where the fighters will get a 50% cut of PPV revenue. Seems MADE for a Nate Diaz, to be honest.
Speaking of, Shane Burgos just signed there pretty surprisingly, and Dana was quick to say the UFC fucked that one up….
It's a great time to be a fan of mixed martial arts, tho - so many great fights across multiple great companies. You can't go a week without seeing a banger of an MMA fight in 2022.
Hopefully Uncle Dana doesn't get too mad at me for writing a blog about someone else's interview….