Friday, November 11, 2022

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Nate Diaz exits UFC on his terms as Khamzat Chimaev emerges as a full-blown heel

LAS VEGAS — This was peak Nate Diaz on Saturday, each inside and out of doors the Octagon. Within it, Diaz did what he’s accomplished so usually: He used his boxing, his unimaginable cardio, an enormous will to win and excellent Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to submit Tony Ferguson within the reconstituted predominant occasion of UFC 279 at T-Cellular Area.

Diaz took loads of punishment from Ferguson, who was confronted with the unenviable activity of combating Diaz, a left-hander, after having skilled his whole camp for Li Jingliang, a right-hander.

The modifications had been needed as a result of Khamzat Chimaev so badly missed weight Friday that even when the UFC wished to attempt to maintain the unique predominant occasion collectively, it might not have been doable. UFC president Dana White mentioned that with such a large weight discrepancy, the Nevada Athletic Fee doubtless wouldn’t have let Diaz struggle Chimaev. Diaz hit the mark at 171 kilos, however Chimaev got here in at 178.5.

“Lame, scared, boring rookie,” Diaz mentioned Saturday of Chimaev.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - SEPTEMBER 10: Nate Diaz reacts after his submission victory over Tony Ferguson in a welterweight fight during the UFC 279 event at T-Mobile Arena on September 10, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Nate Diaz goes out with a win after submitting Tony Ferguson in the primary occasion of UFC 279. (Picture by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

So after about 4 hours of conferences on Friday, the UFC shook up the card and Diaz confronted Ferguson in the primary and Chimaev met Kevin Holland within the co-main.

Chimaev took Holland down nearly immediately, managed him on the bottom and submitted him with a D’Arce choke at 2:13 of the first. Notably, Holland didn’t land a single strike. Although Chimaev and Holland received into an altercation backstage at Thursday’s information convention, Chimaev provided an olive department to him.

“He’s a superb man,” Chimaev mentioned. “Perhaps he can come practice with me.”

However there was no such good will coming from Chimaev towards Diaz. Chimaev had been a -1200 favourite at BetMGM over Diaz, however Chimaev was solely a -600 favourite in opposition to Holland.

“That man, Kevin Holland, robust man, stronger man [and he is] higher than Diaz,” Chimaev mentioned. “If Diaz and Holland had been combating, Holland would kill him. I completed that man [Holland] really easy, within the second minute. Diaz ought to thank God he didn’t struggle me.”

There has by no means been anybody Diaz has ever been afraid to struggle, one of many causes for his recognition. He’s one of many few fighters who mentioned he’d struggle anybody anyplace at any time and means it.

He was at all times brash and defiant, however as he gained expertise and knowledge, he started to grasp how the system labored and methods to manipulate it to his benefit. He received into two of the best-selling pay-per-view fights in UFC historical past by figuring out when to name Conor McGregor out and having the fortitude to just accept a struggle on 10 days’ discover.

He agreed to face Ferguson on Saturday on about 30 hours’ discover as a result of that’s about 29 hours and 55 minutes greater than he actually needs.

He took loads of laborious kicks from Ferguson, and had an ice pack on his leg on the post-fight information convention as proof. However when Ferguson shot on Diaz, the struggle was rapidly over.

“Anybody shoots on me, they get choked,” Diaz mentioned as he puffed on a joint.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - SEPTEMBER 10: (R-L) Nate Diaz and Tony Ferguson pay each other respect after their welterweight fight during the UFC 279 event at T-Mobile Arena on September 10, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Nate Diaz and Tony Ferguson pay one another respect after their welterweight struggle throughout the UFC 279 occasion at T-Cellular Area on Sept. 10, 2022 in Las Vegas. (Picture by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Ferguson was doing nicely earlier than the takedown however Diaz had begun to take over together with his boxing. His mixtures had been slowing Ferguson and started taking an apparent toll because the struggle wore on. Ferguson opted to shoot to alter issues and it was the unsuitable transfer.

“I ought to have stored it standing,” Ferguson mentioned. “I’m going to have to speak to my nook. Nothing dangerous, no person’s going to get fired, however … ”

Diaz had no such complaints. He did what he wished to do and received impressively. He mentioned on the post-fight information convention he’d be again.

“I’ve no plans of not being again within the UFC,” he mentioned, despite the fact that he additionally mentioned one of the best factor about his struggle is that his contract is over.

As he talked and joked, saying {that a} reporter who spent a number of days in camp “smoked a lot weed” with him, it was clear this was a man who’d lastly made it.

He was answering a query when he was distracted by melting ice working down his leg. He yanked off his Travis Scott sneakers, which begin at $500 and might be so costly their value can be equal to a number of months lease in Stockton, California, when he grew up.

He caught the shoe on the dais in entrance of him. A couple of minutes earlier, he requested reporters as he arrived on the information convention if anybody had a beer he might drink. When he caught the shoe on the desk, he was requested if he’d do a shoey. UFC heavyweight Tai Tuivasa made {that a} factor, guzzling beer from a sneaker to have fun a win. Diaz, although, wasn’t having it.

“That’s gross,” he mentioned to laughs.

Maybe his place shall be taken by Chimaev when it comes to star energy. Chimaev is little question one of many best skills within the sport, and he did a critical heel flip this week. However Diaz did it throughout 15 years and a number of weight courses, at all times entertaining, at all times elevating the stakes and at all times discovering a method to construct curiosity.

He’s going to start out a promotional firm, Actual Fights Inc, as a result of, he mentioned, he’s at all times been a promoter.

And whereas that’s true, what he’s at his essence is a fighter — one of the actual, trustworthy and entertaining fighters who ever stepped into the Octagon.

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