Love Or Hate For Nate?

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Dan Hardy believes the UFC’s booking of Nate Diaz vs. Khamzat Chimaev is almost criminal.

Earlier this month, the UFC announced that Diaz and Chimaev will headline UFC 279, which takes place Sept. 10 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. It’s a fight that immediately drew criticism from fans as an egregious mismatch, and former UFC commentator Dan Hardy could not agree more.

“It feels like we’re getting to the point where someone should start thinking about pressing charges,” Hardy told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “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 is on the last fight of his UFC contract and has been attempting to exit the UFC for some time now. Earlier this month, Diaz even went on The MMA Hour and said the company was “holding him hostage,” refusing to book him while they attempted to re-sign him.

Had the UFC been able to re-sign Diaz, they reportedly would not have booked the Chimaev fight and instead were looking at Diaz vs. Dustin Poirier, a matchup that was scheduled to take place at UFC 230 before it was cancelled. But with Diaz anxious to leave the promotion and pursue other opportunities, including potentially a lucrative boxing match with Jake Paul, the UFC finally gave him a fight – one that, on paper, appears to be extremely difficult.

Hardy simply hopes the matchmaking doesn’t seriously harm Diaz.

“I hope, desperately hope, that Nate at least comes through it alright, but after watching what Khamzat did to Rhys McKee and to John Phillips — yes, of course, Nate’s got good jiu-jitsu, but there comes a point where jiu-jitsu is nullified by good wrestling,” Hardy said. “It happened in the early days of the UFC, and it would happen against Nate if it hits the floor. I think he gets nullified and I think he gets beaten up horrendously from the top position. 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.”

Hardy is far from the only one who thinks this matchup is nigh unwinnable for Diaz. The oddsmakers installed Chimaev as a -1100 favorite, suggesting a 91.67 percent win probability. Even for Diaz, who has thrived in the underdog role before — most notably when he submitted Conor McGregor on short notice at UFC 196 — he is likely to remain a massive underdog despite his popularity. Hardy said it speaks to the sad manner in which the UFC handles its business.

“I love Khamzat Chimaev – I just think they’re in different positions right now,” Hardy said. “He’s on the rise, and Diaz is a legend that is on his way out. It’s just a fight that shouldn’t be happening. But of course, if Nate pulls it off it would be the most Diaz thing to do in the world, and he’ll walk off into the sunset with a smile on his face.

“I think I said what I needed to about it. 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.”

Leon Edwards thinks the UFC aren’t doing Nate Diaz any favors by pitting him against Khamzat Chimaev in his final octagon appearance.

Diaz (20-13 MMA, 15-11 UFC) will finally get his wish of completing the last bout on his current UFC contract when he meets Chimaev (11-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) in the main event of UFC 279 on Sept. 10, which takes place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and airs on pay-per-view.

Although Diaz openly campaigned for the fight if it meant an opportunity to test free agency, there’s a sentiment from at least some portion of the public that the matchup is illogical, or perhaps even unfair.

Edwards (18-3 MMA, 10-2 UFC), who shared the octagon with Diaz in his most recent bout at UFC 263 in June 2021 and won a unanimous decision, aligns with that notion. He thinks after more than 14 years of service on the roster, the promotion could’ve provided a more style-friendly matchup to one of the most popular fighters to ever grace its cage.

“If I had to put money on it I’d probably go Khamzat – but I’d love Nate to get it done,” Edwards told MMA Junkie and other reporters during a recent media scrum in London. “He’s done so much for the company and I wish they gave him a veteran, a nice fight to bow out to. To give an up-and-coming guy that’s had four or five fights in the UFC, and a wrestler guy as well – I think they f*cked up. They should’ve gave him a better fight. But I would love Nate to get it done. But as I said, if I’m a betting man I’d probably go with Khamzat.”
Edwards and Diaz were respectful before and after their fight at UFC 263, and it’s clear “Rocky” still holds his former foe in high regard.

It’s no secret that Diaz has been disgruntled as he’s publicly pushed to fight out his UFC contract or be released from the roster in the months since he fought Edwards. Now that it’s all set to play out, Edwards said he hopes Diaz finds whatever happiness he’s chasing.

“You can’t not like Nate,” Edwards said. “He is who he is. I’ve watched this guys coming up at 16 or 17 when I was getting into MMA. I wish him well in his career and whatever he wishes to do next. (Boxing) Jake Paul or wherever he decides to go.”

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Khamzat Chimaev has the opportunity to knock off a UFC legend ahead of him. Now he just has to make sure that said legend shows up.

The undefeated welterweight, who’s currently No. 3 at 155 pounds in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings, is set to fight Nate Diaz in the main event of UFC 279 on Sept. 10 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Since 2013, Diaz has made just eight octagon appearances, and his most recent — a unanimous decision loss to Leon Edwards at UFC 263 in June 2021 — was his first fight in 19 months after several fizzled matchups. So one can understand if Chimaev is skeptical about whether the fight is going to happen.

“I still don’t believe that guy’s going to come and show up,” Chimaev said on The MMA Hour. “That skinny boy. We will see what’s happening. I’m just waiting for the 10th of September – it doesn’t matter who. If he wants to fight [185 pounds], then we can do that… just show up. I can fight [at 185 or 205 pounds], it doesn’t matter.”
Adding further intrigue to the contest is the fact that the UFC 279 headliner marks the last fight on Diaz’s current contract. The Stockton, Calif., star’s future is unclear, but on multiple occasions he has asked for the UFC to release him, so it is distinctly possible that Diaz will soon end his 15-year relationship with the promotion.

That narrative doesn’t mean much to Chimaev, who plans to approach this as he has all of his previous fights. However, he is amused by the thought of putting a dent in Diaz’s infamous persona.
“For me, it doesn’t actually matter,” Chimaev said. “If they give me Kamaru Usman, I will do the same thing. For me, it doesn’t matter. The guy just fights and fights. He’s still dangerous. He fights to the last second, and I’m happy he’s fighting with me.

“He’s one of the legends, like everyone saying, ‘gangster, gangster.’ I’m going to show who’s the gangster. Like I said before, we’re from Chechnya, we grow up [with] the war, and we eat the gangsters for breakfast.”

Chimaev is a heavy favorite heading into the contest, in no small part due to his 11-0 record, which includes 10 finishes and a recent win over top welterweight contender Gilbert Burns. On paper, Diaz is step back in competition given that he’s won just one fight since 2016. But Chimaev is looking forward to share the cage with a fighter he’s long admired.

“When my manager told me it’s done, I said that’s good, that’s perfect for us,” Chimaev said. “Make money, make good names, the guy’s going out. Nate said he doesn’t like me. … I like that guy, I grew up on him.

“I was in school when he was fighting in the UFC. It’s amazing to fight that guy, and I like him because for me UFC, when I was young, it was like the movies. Like, I’m not going to get there, I’m just going to see it.

“Now, I fight with the guys that I was watching. American guys, from Chechnya I watched them. Now, I fight with them.”

Coming off of the first decision win of his career, Chimaev doesn’t expect to go the distance when he fights Diaz. This is the first bout scheduled for five rounds of Chimaev’s career. He plans to do what he usually does and be the fourth fighter to stop Diaz.

“I just go in and smash his face,” Chimaev said. “If we do striking, I knock him out, and if we go down, I submit him or smash his face, make him tap. We’ll see, whatever, for me it doesn’t matter. I don’t have some game plan and that s***. I don’t ask my coaches, I never talk about what I’m going to do in the fight. I just train what my coach said in my training. When we spar, if he says, ‘take him down,’ I take him down, if he says, ‘jab, move,’ I do these things – I listen to him.

“Then I go to the fight and I do exactly exactly the same I did in the sparring, and sometimes it’s take him down, submit him. Then I understand I have to do it in the cage as well when I come to the fight. This is my game plan, but you don’t see me, like, ‘Oh, he does this, he does that, he jabs like this, and this s***.’ I don’t believe in game plan or this s***. You fight like you fight.”

“One round, two rounds,” Chimaev said of his prediction on when the fight will end. “We’ll see.”

This fight is rubbing a lot of people the wrong way.

I hope nate pulls out fight week with cottonmouth or something,
And Khazmat headlines against Bryan Barberena

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I Noticed

Khamzat Chimaev: ‘I don’t need to fight Nate Diaz’

Khamzat Chimaev has the highest-profile fight of his young superstar career lined up.

UFC 279 on Sept. 10, 2022, in Las Vegas will play host to “Borz’s” first UFC main event when he takes on fan-favorite, Nate Diaz. Despite the match-up being speculated for a few months, the community was largely surprised when things became official as Chimaev is a top contender while Diaz has lost two straight.

Seated as the No. 3-ranked contender in the official UFC rankings, Chimaev is on the cusp of his first career title shot and will likely get it by defeating Diaz, extending his unbeaten record to 12. However, the 28-year-old claims he was lined up for a shot at the winner of Kamaru Usman versus Leon Edwards 2 regardless.
“I don’t need to fight with Nate Diaz,” Chimaev told The MMA Hour. “If I wanted to wait, this is gonna take a long time. Usman fights one time in one year. He has everything. He has money, he has pound-for-pound No. 1, that’s why he wants to wait. He takes long times and doesn’t want to lose his belts. And everyone knows I’m coming for them, younger, hungrier, I’m almost 10 years younger [than all the guys in the top 10].”

The champion, Usman, aims to defend his title at UFC 278 on Aug. 20 in a rematch with Edwards. After that, he’s interested in potentially taking his talents to the Light Heavyweight division.
Also one open to bouncing around divisions, Chimaev teased going back up to 185 pounds after a Diaz win because he doesn’t want to wait on Usman. Not necessarily rooting for “The Nigerian Nightmare” to retain at UFC 278, Chimaev does hope he wins so that he can ultimately be the one to take the crown.
“Yes, of course,” Chimaev asked when asked if he wants to be the one to beat Usman. “Because if Leon wins, I don’t think he’ll be pound-for-pound No. 1. They gonna change it with somebody else. I’m gonna fight pound-for-pound No. 1 and beat that guy and make me close to pound-for-pound No. 1, defend the title or go up and take the title. They’re gonna make me pound-for-pound.”

Calling it now. Nate doesn’t give a fuck about UFC or Dana or putting on a good show. He’ll run and he’ll tap at first sign of grief. It will be a nice FUCK YOU, I QUIT to Dana

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wow , hmmmm , interesting

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A surprising source of criticism is Leon Edwards, who recently addressed the match up at a media scrum in London. Despite having fairly recently battered Diaz himself (barring a moment of boredom), Edwards argues that the promotion messed up by not giving Diaz a more reasonable match up.

“If I had to put money on it I’d probably go Khamzat – but I’d love Nate to get it done,” Edwards said (via MMAJunkie). “He’s done so much for the company and I wish they gave him a veteran, a nice fight to bow out to. To give an up-and-coming guy that’s had four or five fights in the UFC, and a wrestler guy as well – I think they f—ked up. They should’ve gave him a better fight. But I would love Nate to get it done. But as I said, if I’m a betting man I’d probably go with Khamzat.”

Though Edwards wishes Diaz well in his future endeavors, “Rocky” his bigger things to focus on. The English athlete is scheduled to rematch Kamaru Usman for the Welterweight title at UFC 278 on Aug. 20, an opportunity Edwards has been chasing for a very long time.

How do PPV buys affect the purse? If this fight sells a shit ton of PPV buys due to its potential for violent fireworks, this could be a gift to Nate from the UFC, not a punishment. It will be his job to protect himself at all times, and you just never know with Nate Diaz, he has a tendency to rock the gamest of opponents.