Nick Diaz and Dana White met after UFC 261 to discuss a return fight for the popular former Strikeforce champion. While the UFC President already seemed open to the idea during the post-fight press conference, it looks like they’ve actually taken the steps to making Diaz face a young rising star in Khamzat Chimaev.
According to a report from Chris Taylor, Diaz has already been offered the match up.
On the Chimaev’s side, he seems more than happy to face Diaz, and is already pushing for it. The undefeated Chechen wrestler shared a poster on social media, and also states that the match up is just “perfect” for him.
“That will be good. I watched his fight when I was a kid, now I’m going to fight with him,” Chimaev told MMA Junkie (transcript via MMA Mania). “Perfect for me. I like it. I want to see who is the real gangster.
“This is MMA, this is sport. Who is the gangster here? Gangster is other things. People kill each other. Maybe in this game, he is a gangster. You can say like that. I grow up in the war, brother. This is bulls—t for me, somebody’s a gangster. No, I’ve seen many things in my life. For me, nobody is gangster.
“I’m coming back, and we kill somebody, smash somebody,” he said. “Now we have Diaz. I don’t know, both maybe someday? Both brothers. We’re going to see who is the real gangster. Chechen gangster is better than Stockton gangster.”
Chimaev has just recovered from a long and tough battle with COVID-19, and is currently targeting a return in August. The Sweden-based Chechen is 26-year-old and has truly impressed in his three fights with the UFC. He’s 9-0 overall, with finishes in every single one of his bouts.
Chimaev thinks Diaz would be a perfect match up, and while it may sound a bit harsh, he probably is right. Diaz is still a big name, and while he has reached heights and accomplishments that Chimaev hasn’t even come close to yet, he is also turning 38 in August. Diaz hasn’t fought in six years, and his last win dates back a decade ago already.
To put that in context, the UFC had five less weight divisions at the time of Diaz’s last win.
The age and extreme layoff would already be an immense hurdle even for those who have been constantly training and keeping up with the sport’s evolution and development. Diaz though was not only away from his home gym, he also raised serious concerns from fans and teammates after spending recent years getting “out of control” and partying too much in Las Vegas.
It’s nice to see Diaz seemingly get back to a healthier lifestyle later in 2020, and he does look to be back in good shape again after that very concerning stretch. But while fandom and nostalgia can be strong, expectations for Diaz’s return should be tapered.
He will definitely not be close to the same fighter he was ten — or even six — years ago, and it would probably be wiser to match him up for fun bouts with fellow veterans and legends closer to his age, than just used as a name to be added to a young fighter’s resume.