Nate Diaz: 'I didn't call for and don't want' to fight Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 279

Much-anticipated welterweight clash headlines at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas this weekend

Nate Diaz, left, punches Leon Edwards in their welterweight fight during the UFC 263 in Arizona on June 12, 2021. Jeff Bottari / Zuffa LLC
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Nate Diaz says he has still no interest in fighting Khamzat Chimaev, but that this weekend’s headline event at UFC 279 is simply about the promotion building up his rival.

The two welterweights, both hugely popular, top the bill at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday morning UAE time, as Diaz sees out his current contract with the UFC.

Some have suggested the company has given Diaz, 37, the toughest fight possible, with Chimaev viewed by many as a UFC champion-in-waiting. The Chechen-born athlete, who made his promotional debut in Abu Dhabi in 2020, has won all 11 of his professional MMA bouts.

Diaz, meanwhile, is coming off back-to-back defeats, and has lost three of his past four dating back to his rematch with Conor McGregor in August 2016. His pro record stands at 20-13.

Speaking to ESPN, Diaz said of the match-making: "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 [expletive], I'll fight anybody. Pressure is on him - he better finish me, because he's the next killer in town.

“Because... if I whoop his [expletive], they’re going to say, ‘Oh, he wasn’t the best in town.’ But they’re not going to let me go [otherwise]. I asked for 20 fights, 10 fights, 15 fights.”

Diaz’s most recent appearance in the octagon was his defeat in June last year to Leon Edwards. Chimaev, nine years the American's junior, has fought twice since October, dominating Li Jingliang in Abu Dhabi before coming through a Fight of the Year contender against Gilbert Burns in April.

"This fight isn't even about this guy... it's about 'making' this guy,” Diaz said. “And I'm like, 'OK, you guys aren't going to let me go? Because I'm the best fighter here?

“And you're not going to let me go unless it's off of somebody? I got to make somebody for you? Well, alright, you're welcome. Let's make you.' You're welcome, UFC."

Updated: September 07, 2022, 10:24 AM