Chimaev and Diaz will battle at UFC 279 on September 10 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Despite the undefeated Chimaev sitting at No. 3 in the welterweight division, White decided to pair him up with the unranked Diaz, who only has one fight left on his contract with the promotion.
Prior to the booking, Diaz had called for the fight on social media and in interviews. He had also said that UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and middleweight king Israel Adesanya were the “only worthy opponents” for him.
Well, Edwards and Hardy recently came out in protest over the match-up. While speaking with Ariel Helwani on “The MMA Hour” earlier this week, Hardy likened the fight to an “assassination attempt” with Chimaev wielding the knife. Further, Edwards told the media during a press conference in London on Saturday that the contest was “f***** up.”
White Told Hardy & Edwards to ‘Go to the Movies’ During UFC 279
In a recent interview with Yahoo Sports, the UFC president gave his take on their comments, as well as the MMA community’s apprehension with the fight.
“I love when fighters, or other people, or anybody else, gives us advice on this incredibly successful business that we’ve built,” White said. “It cracks me up. So, I’m looking at [matching Diaz with] Francis Ngannou or Khamzat Chimaev, and a couple of other ones that were not good, either. I’m going to take Khamzat.
“I can tell you this: Leon Edwards, Dan Hardy and anybody else who is out there yapping has never dealt with the Diaz brothers. It’s a very unique experience. It takes a very long f****** time. We got through it and here we are. It’s a very popular fight that people want to see, that people like and everybody’s getting what they want. Dan Hardy and Leon Edwards don’t have to watch it. They can go to the movies that night.
Chimaev’s Coach Believes the Matchmaking Is Appropriate
“Borz” is 11-0 as a professional mixed martial artist and he boats wins over the likes of Gilbert Burns and Li Jingliang.
On the other end, Diaz is 0-2 in his last two bouts. In his most recent outing, he fought Edwards at UFC 263 in June 2021, and although the fight went to Edwards via unanimous decision, Diaz managed to hurt and nearly finish “Rocky” in the final minute of the five-round affair.
Andreas Michael, Chimaev’s head coach, was interviewed by Submission Radio about the upcoming fight. And in short, Michael doesn’t have a problem with the matchmaking.
“It’s bulls***,” Michael said about the fight’s naysayers via MMA Junkie. “Pure bulls***. Like, Nate Diaz has fought (everyone), and given Leon Edwards a run for his money. Like, alright, Leon Edwards was winning every round, but he gave Leon Edwards a tough fight. He’s at no means an easy opponent for us. And Nate Diaz is probably gonna make money.”