With Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez’s flyweight title rematch being moved to ‘UFC ON FOX 9’ to cover for the delayed Anthony Pettis Vs Josh Thomson fight in December, The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale just two weeks earlier on November 30th requires a new headliner.
As such, the UFC have now promoted a trilogy fight between Gray Maynard and Nate Diaz, which was already set for the main card of the show, to the top of the bill for the event which will air live on FOX Sports 1.
Maynard and Diaz have fought twice before, with Diaz originally submitting ‘The Bully’ on his way to becoming ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ season five champion in 2007.
Three years later they met again and this time it was Maynard who emerged victorious, albeit by a split decision verdict.
Since then the two fighters have experienced something of a rollercoaster ride in the Octagon.
Maynard earned himself a title shot just one fight later after defeating Kenny Florian, and then became embroiled in a memorable two fight battle with Frankie Edgar for the lightweight strap, drawing with him in their first encounter and then losing out by in the second.
He’s since picked up another win and then lost out by KO to TJ Grant in a title eliminator earlier this year so this third fight with Diaz is important for him to get back on the winning trail.
Diaz has been much the busier of the two, fighting nine times since then, including a four fight stint in the UFC’s welterweight division immediately after his last loss to Maynard which saw him go 2-2.
Upon his return to lightweight he embarked on a three-fight winning streak that earned him a shot at the 155lb title.
He lost out in a disappointing performance against Ben Henderson on FOX though late last year, and his since suffered the first TKO loss of his career against Josh Thomson, so he too will see this as a must-win fight.
All in all, this is certainly a fight that’s well worth main event status at the TUF 18 Finale.