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Li Jingliang believes Nate Diaz can find ‘miracle’ against Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 279

Li Jingliang is right here to remind MMA followers that something can occur within the octagon — not that they want a lot of a reminder today.

There’s a brand new UFC welterweight champion proper now as a result of no underdog can ever be written off. So Jingliang isn’t doing the identical to Nate Diaz earlier than UFC 279.

“I can’t offer you a quantity in regards to the likelihood [Diaz will win], however everyone knows primarily based on the statistics and the information, Khamzat is the favourite Nate is the underdog,” Jingliang stated Monday through translator on The MMA Hour. “However I believe Khamzat has by no means fought in a five-round battle.

“One other huge X-factor is Nate Diaz is Nate Diaz — you don’t know what occurs if the battle goes to the fifth spherical and the final minute and final seconds if you happen to battle with Nate Diaz. What we actually want is a miracle, is a shock within the battle, and I consider Nate Diaz is the man that may give you this.”

Diaz practically pulled off a miracle within the fifth spherical of his battle with Leon Edwards at UFC 263, profitable an ethical victory by hurting the U.Okay. welterweight late. Edwards went on to notch what is perhaps the definitive come-from-behind win within the UFC with a head-kick knockout of Kamaru Usman at UFC 278.

“I stated to my boxing coach earlier than that battle, I believe Leon has an opportunity to knock out Kamaru Usman — after which what occurs within the battle?” Jingliang stated. “Everyone knows Kamaru Usman is a really well-rounded fighter, however I believe most individuals underestimate how good Leon is at placing, and like I stated, something can occur at any second on this sport.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re an underdog in different’s eyes. It’s a must to belief in your self and battle for your loved ones, irrespective of who you battle in opposition to. In case you are within the octagon, you might be 50-50.”

That’s why Jingliang doesn’t put a lot inventory in critics of his personal matchup, a short-notice assembly with former interim light-weight title challenger Tony Ferguson within the co-headliner of UFC 279. Many look askew at Ferguson’s current file — a four-fight skid punctuated by a brutal knockout loss — and his transfer to the welterweight division, the place Jingliang has an enormous head begin in expertise. The Chinese language fighter is coming off a giant win over Muslim Salikhov and isn’t preventing for his job or profession. It’s unlikely Ferguson will recuperate from a fifth straight UFC loss.

So the matchup seems to be tilted in Jingliang’s favor. However the best way he sees issues, it’s a little bit completely different when the punches are flying straight at you.

“I consider Tony is aware of what he’s doing now,” Jingliang stated. “He’s been on this enterprise for a really very long time. I believe for every fighter, we simply battle for ourselves, for our households, so I don’t suppose we have to care what others take into consideration how this battle goes.

“Our job is to battle, and the matchmakers job is to match fighters up who will give the followers a shock, and your job as media is to let everyone know and watch this battle,” he stated. “We’re not simply merely hyping up the battle, we simply wish to allow you to followers know that it’s going to be a really thrilling battle, a really attention-grabbing battle it’s important to watch.”

Jingliang is aware of precisely what it’s prefer to bounce again from a tricky defeat. Earlier than his win over Salikhov, he fell quick within the largest alternative of his profession, a battle with Chimaev at UFC 267. He was put to sleep within the first round in opposition to the Chechyan fighter, and but, he by no means stopped believing in his skills. Salikhov and his five-fight profitable streak discovered that firsthand.

“I all the time belief myself,” Jingliang stated. “I all the time have faith about myself since day 1 within the UFC, earlier than every battle. Regardless of win or lose, even for the Khamzat battle. I do know that night time, he was the higher man than me. However that’s the game. We must always study from our failures, the losses, however we must always belief … and consider and have faith in ourselves, all the time.”

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