Nate Diaz has had a storied career in the UFC that dates back to 2007. He has, however, been involved in a contract dispute with the promotion and his UFC 279 matchup against Khamzat Chimaev could be his last UFC fight.
Diaz has become one of the biggest stars in the sport, and the only thing missing from his resume is a championship. He recently shared that he’s never aspired to win a UFC title and is a champion either way.
Speaking with ESPN MMA in the buildup to his UFC 279 matchup, Diaz shared that his goal was never to win a title, stating:
“I didn’t have any championship objective, I was a champion. As long as I did this job how it’s supposed to be done, how it’s supposed to be right, I’d go home with my homebodys and be like, ‘Y’all saw how I did, that’s how you do that.’ That’s how you would do it, that’s how he would do it, that’s how everybody in my circle would do it.”
Diaz continued to elaborate by using two of the biggest names in the sport to drive home his point:
“That was my only goal. As far as I’m concered, I was the champion the whole time, and the guys out there the whole time playing champion – Kamaru… Oliveira… You guys are the champion because you guys had this weird little goal.”
Nate Diaz added that UFC champions are generally just people who “follow the leader” and the “machine” that is the promotion. He added that he is his own champion, which is something far more meaningful to him.
Nate Diaz believes the UFC is using him to build Khamzat Chimaev
Nate Diaz is undoubtedly one of the biggest stars in UFC history. With him set to leave the promotion following UFC 279, he stated that he feels that he is being used to build Khamzat Chimaev’s star power.
Speaking to ESPN MMA, Diaz said (starting at the 13:55 mark of the same interview):
“This fight’s not even about this guy, it’s about making this guy. It’s about making this motherf**ker, and I’m like, ‘Okay, well 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 gotta make somebody for you.”
Khamzat Chimaev’s star power is already growing, but the opportunity to fight a UFC legend such as Nate Diaz could put a lot more eyes on him, particularly if he wins the fight in dominant fashion, as many suspect. Diaz shared that the pressure is on Chimaev going into UFC 279 due to the way he is being hyped.
Watch Nate Diaz’s full appearance on ESPN MMA below (title talk starting at the 7:50 mark):