Nate Diaz is just hours away from making with will most likely be his final walk to the Octagon when he steps into the main event spotlight at UFC 279 on Saturday night. Meeting him inside of the cage will be undefeated Swedish star Khamzat Chimaev.
Much has been said about the pairing between Diaz and Chimaev since it was announced. Many believe that the UFC is throwing Diaz under the bus on his way out the door. Others insist that Diaz asked specifically for Chimaev, a claim the Stockton native himself said wasn’t valid in a recent interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.
Regardless of the reasoning, Nate Diaz vs. Khamzat Chimaev is a very real fight and it is right around the corner. Former UFC middleweight world champion Michael Bisping recently shared on thoughts on this evening’s main event showdown in a video uploaded to his YouTube channel.
“[Nate Diaz] has a never say die attitude. If you don’t finish him, he will continue to fight. He will continue to come after you.
“On the flip side, Khamzat Chimaev. I mean, this man is just a sensation. Came to the UFC, took it by storm. Knocking everyone out, submitting them very very quickly. Picking up Li Jingliang, he’s fighting Tony Ferguson by the way, this week. Picked him up, had a conversation with Dana White, slammed him down on the floor, then choked him out unconscious. That’s just like the cockiness and the ability of this man. It really is something to behold. It’s incredible.”
Bisping did address the debate that the UFC is seemingly leading Nate Diaz to slaughter by booking him against ‘Borz’ on Saturday night. ‘The Count’ didn’t really land on one side of the argument versus another. Instead, he reminded fans that Diaz is an experienced fighter who makes a lot of money to fight whoever the UFC puts in front of him.
“This is the UFC. Nate Diaz gets paid a lot of money to fight and he’s a very capable fighter. But secondly, Diaz gets paid a tremendous amount of money. He complains all the time, but you never hear him complaining about how much he gets paid.”
Looking ahead to the 25-minute war that awaits us at UFC 279, Bisping spoke about the strengths of both fighters and believes that a five-round fight versus three-rounds will work in Nate Diaz’s favor.
“The real question is, is Nate Diaz going to win against Khamzat Chimaev? Khamzat’s the way bigger guy. He’s the stronger guy. He’s more aggressive. He’s the better wrestler. He hits harder. He’s got the momentum. He’s on a roll and he’s absolutely goddamn out of his mind. It’s a five-round fight though. A five-round fight is the only way that Nate Diaz has any shot of being successful in this fight.
“He’s not as strong. He’s not as explosive. He can’t compete. He doesn’t necessarily have the one-punch knockout power either. Khamzat clearly does. Knocked out Gerald Meerschaert in 17-seconds, one shot. Meerschaert’s not a bad fighter. He’s a great fighter. He’s had some tremendous victories lately, but that just showed what Khamzat is capable of.”
— MMA Junkie (@MMAJunkie) September 7, 2022
Khamzat Chimaev’s Fight With Gilbert Burns Could Give Nate Diaz a Blue Print for Success
Since debuting in the UFC, Khamzat Chimaev has looked like an absolute world beater… With one exception. At UFC 273, ‘Borz’ faced his toughest test against Gilbert Burns, a top-five ranked welterweight. It was a massive leap in competition for Chimaev and a big risk for both the Chechnyan-born star and the UFC. It paid off as Chimaev scored a unanimous decision win. However, the fight made ‘Borz’ look human for the first time in his UFC career.
“Gilbert Burns and Khamzat Chimaev put on a magnificent war,” said Bisping. “Thoroughly enjoyed that fight. Everyone did and it showed that Khamzat is human because of course he’s human. He can’t go out there and just dominate everybody. Gilbert Burns is a tough son of a b*tch. Some of the best jiu-jitsu. Heavy, heavy hands and super experienced.
“As the fight progressed, Khamzat Chimaev started to slow down a little bit. Which, of course, most of his fights he goes out there and finishes very very quickly. We haven’t seen him get pushed to that limit. I always say, in fight sports, you gotta be a good hammer and you gotta be a good nail. You’ve gotta be able to give it, but you’ve gotta be able to take it as well. What he showed in that fight with Gilbert Burns is that he could definitely take it. He showed that he could dig deep, but also showed that as the fight progresses, as it gets to the later rounds, he can slow down.”
In the end, Michael Bisping believes that Chimaev will get the job done on Saturday night, but refuses to overlook the toughness of Nate Diaz.
“There is a possibility that Khamzat goes out there, boom boom, pieces him up. Picks him up, slams him down on the ground. Ground and pounds the sh*t out of him and takes him out in round one. But you know what? I don’t think that happens. Diaz is tougher than a motherf*cker. He is very very hard to finish.
“I don’t think it goes to a decision. I do think that Khamzat Chimaev gets the job done.”