Nate Diaz’s potential last appearance in the UFC could be one to remember.
Next weekend at UFC 279 in Las Vegas, Diaz finishes out his contract by facing rising undefeated superstar Khamzat Chimaev in a welterweight headliner. To a vast majority of those within the MMA community, this is a true case of someone being fed to the wolves, pun intended.
Historically, Diaz has struggled mightily with smothering wrestler-type fighters like the dominant Chimaev has proven to be. On top of his style, Chimaev also has size and youth on his side, leaving oddsmakers to place Diaz as a sizable underdog.
Underestimated for a large portion of his own career, UFC Hall of Famer and former middleweight champion Michael Bisping fought for roughly the same timespan as Diaz. Defying the odds towards his journey’s tail-end, “The Count” believes Diaz needs to be given more of a shot in such an uphill battle.
“You can’t count out Nate Diaz, let’s be honest,” Bisping said on his YouTube channel. “More than likely, Chimaev is going to be a gigantic favorite in this fight and I understand that but Nate Diaz has been in there with some of the best.
“The reality is, he’s lost a lot of fights. The 13 losses, it doesn’t sound good. That is almost like kind of getting to journeyman status which sounds offensive but I’m not [trying to be], the man’s been in there with the best of the best. When you look at the people that he lost to, they’re all champions. They’re all top of the food chain. If you’re gonna beat Nate Diaz, you have to be special. You can’t be some average guy, some average Joe, some guy that’s okay that’s had some success. You ain’t gonna beat Diaz like that.”
While Chimaev is 11-0 thus far in his career, Diaz will enter the bout looking to snap a two-fight skid as he’s 1-3 in his last four. The Stockton, California native’s last time out saw him drop a one-sided unanimous decision to now-champion Leon Edwards at UFC 263 in June 2021. Despite the nature of the bout overall, Diaz left a lasting impression by nearly scoring a knockout in the final minute. He’s begged for his release from the promotion — or a fight with simply anyone to finish his contract — ever since.
“Borz,” on the other hand, last picked up his biggest career victory, defeating one-time title challenger Gilbert Burns in an all-out war at UFC 273 in April. Chimaev is now firmly atop the contender line at 170-pounds, awaiting a likely title shot with a win. However, he’s still gaining experience and this Diaz clash will be Chimaev’s first five-round affair.
“Diaz comes in ridiculous shape every single time,” Bisping said. “He and his brother as we know compete in a lot of triathlons and things like that. Beautiful jiu-jitsu. If it hits the ground, always very, very dangerous, and excellent boxing. He knows how to use his reach, his range, beautiful hands. Not the most powerful puncher but he can pack a punch. You can never count out Nate Diaz. He is always in the fight.”
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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
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Cheers to Frankie!
Jailton Almeida (16-2) vs. Anton Turkalj (8-0); UFC 279, Sept. 10
Jennifer Maia (19-9-1) vs. Maryna Moroz (11-3); UFC Fight Night, Nov. 19
Bruno Silva (22-8) vs. Albert Duraev (15-3); UFC Orlando, Dec. 3
Nate’s going to need to conceive and believe to achieve this one, buddeh.
Happy Friday, gang. Thanks for reading and enjoy the weekend.