Sunday, January 29, 2023

Nate Diaz: ‘I didn’t call for and still don’t want’ to fight Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 279

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Nate Diaz has no interest in fighting Khamzat Chimaev. The two welterweights are scheduled to headline UFC 279 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night, but the fan favorite has expressed that he wasn’t on board with making this fight happen. 

Diaz has repeatedly accused UFC president Dana White and company of sabotaging his attempts to fight out his UFC contract. One narrative heading into the fight is that UFC is throwing Diaz to the wolves here as Chimaev ascends toward a title shot. Count Diaz among those who believe that to be the intention of UFC’s upper management. The Stockton-native says he believes UFC hopes to set up Chimaev for success at Diaz’s expense.

“They’re acting like I called for this fight, which I didn’t call for and don’t want and didn’t want and still don’t want,” Diaz told ESPN. “But I don’t give a f—, I’ll fight anybody. But, [the] pressure is on him, he better finish me, because he’s the next killer in town.

“This fight isn’t even about this guy… it’s about ‘making’ this guy. And I’m like, ‘OK, you guys aren’t going to let me go? Because I’m the best fighter here? And you’re not gonna let me go unless it’s off of somebody? I gotta make somebody for you? Well, alright, you’re welcome. Let’s make you.’ You’re welcome, UFC…”

Diaz has not fought professionally since a June 2021 loss to Leon Edwards. Diaz accused UFC brass of rejecting his requests to fight Tony Ferguson, Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler and Vicente Luque. Coincidentally, Ferguson will fight in the co-main event of UFC 279 in a welterweight bout against Li Jingliang, his first bout at 170 pounds since 2011.

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