The UFC has come under fire for booking what many people see as a mismatch for Nate Diaz’s final fight in the UFC against Khamzat Chimaev, but Dana White says that after a difficult negotiation period with the star, it’s the fight he wanted.
“I care about Nate a lot,” White told reporters. “I like Nate, and Nate came in here, long before that fight was ever made, and we were talking about it being his last fight, and I said, ‘Listen, kid. You think about the wars that Nate Diaz has put on and the incredible fights and the big fights that he’s done with us, go do whatever you want to do, man.’
“But getting a fight done with him isn’t as easy as seems. Everybody’s like, ‘Well, why don’t you make a fight?’ Well, he asked for Francis Ngannou. I could go on forever, but I won’t.
“We got it done. That’s the fight he wanted.”
Just recently Diaz had claimed that the UFC were holding him “hostage” until they could make a blockbuster third fight with Conor McGregor, but White says it wasn’t a fight they’d even considered due to ‘The Notorious’ being out with a broken leg.
“Conor’s not ready yet,” White said. “Conor’s leg isn’t healed yet. Nate could obviously sit around and wait for that, but he doesn’t want it. I don’t know what he’s got planned or what he’s thinking, but right here, right now, he’s ready to fight. He wants to go, and we’re going.
“That’s one of those fights you can do any time, but no, it never worked out that way. Listen, if you get two guys like Conor and Nate, who want to fight each other bad enough, it ends up happening.”
White also brushed aside suggestions that he was disappointed not to have been able to put together that trilogy fight.
“No, it’s not like, ‘Oh God, I never got the chance to make No. 3. The first two were awesome. That first round with Conor and Nate in the first fight was insane. Conor was landing these crazy bombs, then Diaz comes out in that second round. It was madness, and then the second fight was awesome. If it happens, it happens, but we got enough out of the first two.”
And he believes that Diaz vs. Chimaev is the kind of fight that people will be eager to tune into.
“We made it, and here we are. And it’s a good fight. It’s a fight people want to see. It’s a fight that people will be interested in, so we’re going to do it.”