Georges St-Pierre knows a thing or two about winning welterweight main events.
With the 170-pound division set to take center stage at UFC 279, the UFC Hall of Famer and former two-division champion was asked to give his take on Khamzat Chimaev’s headlining battle against Nate Diaz. St-Pierre is expecting to see Chimaev at his best.
” This fight will take place at welterweight. The odds are in favor of Chimaev. St-Pierre stated that he believes it favors him due to this fact during a UFC Paris fan Q&A.
“However, Nate Diaz, you can’t ever count him out. He’s very well-rounded, he’s very durable, and it will take a lot to try and put him away. But Khamzat, it’s going to be a tough challenge because he only went the distance in his last fight, I believe, and I think he grew incredibly from that fight, he learned a lot. We’ll see Khamzat as a stronger fighter, but still better than he was. It’s going be an exciting fight .”
Chimaev 0) is taking the UFC by storm, winning five of his initial five octagon fights with flying victories. The 28-year-old fighter cemented his place in welterweight title contention in April with a gritty back-and-forth win over Gilbert Burns at UFC 273. This performance pushed Chimaev to No. 3 spot on MMA Fighting’s welterweight rankings — and it turned St-Pierre into a believer about the potential of the Chechen-born contender.
“Khamzat is very good,” St-Pierre said. “He’s got all the skills and he showcased incredible durability and great mental strength in his last fight when he fought Gilbert Burns, because he was pushed to the limit. That’s when you recognize a true warrior, a true champion [compared] to a contender. He proved his worth in the last fight, when he had to face those times of difficulty — including some defeats but others that allowed him to persevere and win. His .”
is very, very strong.
There’s Diaz on the other side. While the 37-year-old Stockton native is more than a 7-to-1 underdog against Chimaev, he’s also been known to pull a rabbit out of his hat at various times in his career. Diaz’s dramatic comeback victory over Conor McGregor at UFC 196 changed the trajectory of his career forever, and he nearly pulled off the same magic in June 2021 when he badly hurt Leon Edwards in the final minutes of a 25-minute bout.
This resilience gives St. Pierre pause when he considers excluding Diaz.
“Nate Diaz gave a fantastic performance against Leon Edwards,” St Pierre said. He lost the fight, but he won. It proved once more that anything is possible and it never ends. And then we saw what happened the other last weekend [with Edwards and Kamaru Usman at UFC 278] … so anything can happen in this game.
“But, if that were the case, I’d have to place a bet,” St-Pierre said. “Of course I must go with all the odds and favor Khamzat Chimaev .”