Diaz was seemingly put on ice by the UFC for over a year after his latest outing against Leon Edwards at UFC 263 in June 2021. He had been rallying to get a fight booked with different options brought to the table, such as Dustin Poirier, Tony Ferguson, and Chimaev.
He had expressed his desire to fight out his contract and become a free agent. However, the promotion appeared to be against the idea, at least until today.
ESPN’s Brett Okamoto broke the news of the two men verbally agreeing to the fight for September: “Khamzat vs. Nate. UFC 279 on Sept. 10 at T-Mobile Arena. Main event. Five rounds. Verbally agreed, per UFC Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell. It is the final fight on Nate Diaz’s current UFC contract.”
Okamoto further added: “Nate Diaz’s representative Zach Rosenfield confirms the date and opponent of Diaz’s next appearance to ESPN. Adds, ‘This is a fight Nate has been asking for since the middle of April.'”
Chimaev gave a chilling response via ESPN: “Khamzat Chimaev (@KChimaev) provided this comment about the fight to ESPN. Translated from Swedish by his representative Majdi Shammas. ‘I am going to handle Nate Diaz’s funeral with the UFC.'”
MMA Twitter Shared Their Reactions
The number three ranked contender at welterweight, Chimaev has gone undefeated in his professional career with ten finishes out of his 11 wins. He’s coming off a close-fought battle against Gilbert Burns, his first bout that went to the judges’ scorecards.
Meanwhile, Diaz enters the final years of his career after nearly two decades in the sport.
Caposa reacted to the announcement: “Spiteful and pathetic. This is how they reward 15 years of entertainment. Not so subtly trying to feed him to the wolves (Borz). Of course Nate is willing to fight the hired goon. Sincerely hope by some miracle this blows up in their face.”
UFC top five welterweight Belal Muhammad reacted: “I hope Nate and Leon both win and ruin everyone’s plans.”
Former Bellator and ONE champion Ben Askren reacted: “this might be really ugly.”
UFC middleweight Darren Till reacted: “What a fight”
Former two-time UFC champion BJ Penn reacted: “@NateDiaz209 is a real OG”
Co-Main Event podcast’s Ben Fowlkes stated: “Dana White a few weeks ago: Nate’s won one fight in five years. He probably should go box Jake Paul. UFC now: But first let’s match him up against our hottest welterweight prospect…”
MMA Junkie’s Danny Segura shared his reaction: “From a sporting side, this bout makes no sense. These two shouldn’t be fighting each other. Dana says Diaz “has only won 1 fight in 5 years.” Then why put him against a top, unbeaten title contender?”
Diaz Will Be a Free Agent After the Fight
Diaz has been in a longstanding feud with the UFC. In May, the 37-year-old was so frustrated after a meeting with the promotional brass that he urinated outside the UFC Performance Institute, and posted a photo of the same.
In a recent appearance on “The MMA Hour” with Ariel Helwani, Diaz detailed the ongoing disputes reasoning that he simply wants out of the company to pursue higher-paying opportunities.
The fan-favorite Stockton native is on the last bout of his current deal with the UFC and had previously spoken out against the company for keeping him “hostage.”
UFC president Dana White stated that he had offered the grizzled veteran numerous fights over the last year, while Diaz said that he asked for Chimaev, among other opponents, but nothing concrete came from that.
Diaz is expected to face Chimaev at UFC 279 on Sept. 10 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.