By the time Nate Diaz became a massive UFC superstar around 2016, he pretty much had strong leverage over succeeding negotiations.
In the case of UFC 279 where his supposed opponent Khamzat Chimaev fell out 24 hours before fight night, the 37-year-old veteran could have pulled out of the event if he wanted to, and it wouldn’t hurt his stock at all.
But as we all know, Diaz decided to fight on and instead faced Tony Ferguson at the main event. During the post-fight media scrum, he revealed some sparse details about how the last-minute negotiations went with the UFC.
“I lost count,” Diaz said when asked how much more money was offered to him to stay on the card.
“I was like, ‘you gotta pay me… if you wanna switch people on me in one f—ng day and I just cut 15 pounds. You made me change my opponent? You guys gotta give me more than you give any of the champions in this whole organization.’
“They were like, ‘Stupid, we already gave you…’ I said, ‘I want more than that, then.’”
According to Diaz, the UFC was not going to “let it be possible” for him to pull out. But he knew Chimaev was going to.
“I figured, this motherf—r’s scared. He got punked, he got scared at the press conference. I knew that was gonna happen. People don’t show up to spar me all the time.”
Diaz (21-13) confirmed his UFC departure at the Octagon interview, but he says he is open to a return after “taking over” another combat sport.