Somebody needs to check the record, because Dana White and Nate Diaz have a couple of very different stories to tell. Back in late July the UFC president sat down with TMZ to quell suspicions that the promotion was setting Diaz up to exit his contract with a brutal loss before hitting free agency.
“Well, the people that are saying that obviously didn’t read when Nate said, ‘I asked for this fight’,” White claimed in defense of the booking. “It’s true and he also asked for Francis Ngannou. So, if I was putting him out to get slaughtered, Francis Ngannou would probably be the fight to give him.”
If Nate’s call-outs were something most fans missed, it’s no wonder, since they seem to be something of which even Nate was unaware. In a recent interview with ESPN, the Stockton-based fighter made no bones about it; while he’s absolutely down to fight Chimaev, it’s not a bout he ever asked for or wanted.
“I’m the champion of the whole UFC, altogether. And I don’t give a f-ck,” Diaz proclaimed in an extended ramble. “And what they got me doing right now? Is they’re acting like I called for this fight, which I didn’t call for and don’t want and didn’t want and still don’t want. But I don’t give a f-ck, I’ll fight anybody. But, pressure’s on him, he better finish me, because he’s the next killer in town...
“This fight isn’t even about this guy,” he continued, “it’s about ‘making’ this guy. And I’m like, ‘Okay, you guys aren’t going to let me go? Because I’m the best fighter here? And you’re not gonna let me go unless it’s off of somebody? I gotta make somebody for you? Well, alright, you’re welcome. Let’s make you.’ You’re welcome, UFC. You’re welcome, Dubai. You’re welcome all you motherf-ckers in your country. You’re welcome.”
For all that Diaz may feel he’s being set up to put Chimaev over, however, it doesn’t seem like he bears any ill will toward Dana White. As far as he’s concerned, this is all just business, and he and White get along just fine. So well, in fact, that Diaz could even see himself going back to the promotion for another contract.
“I’m on Dana White’s side too,” Diaz revealed. “It’s all love. I understand business, so it’s all good with me. Me and Dana always got along about everything too. And I’m not f-cking inking Real Fighting [Diaz’s new combat sports promotion] because I’m against anybody. I’m not going anywhere or doing anything. I have no plan for what my next move is. If something happens in this fight, I might just have to re-sign to get a rematch. If I don’t whip this motherf-cker’s ass right now, then c’mon.
“Regardless of what happens, though—and say I leave, or do whatever—the best fighters are in the UFC and have been for a long time and will be for a long time, I’m sure. Doesn’t mean the realest sh-t is happening in the UFC. But, no matter what I do, I’m gonna be in the UFC.”
UFC 279 goes down this Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. Alongside the Chimaev/Diaz main event, the card is expected to feature a welterweight bout between Li Jingliang & former interim lightweight champ Tony Ferguson, as well as a 180 lb catchweight bout between Kevin Holland & Daniel Rodriguez.