Nate Diaz will step into the Octagon at UFC 279 on September 10th for what could very well be the last time in his storied mixed martial arts career.
The Ultimate Fighter alum and longtime fan-favorite is taking a big risk by fighting through the last fight of his existing contract against welterweight monster Khamzat Chimaev in the evening’s main event. Emanating from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, the Swedish fighter has scored five straight wins inside the Octagon to secure his position as a top contender. The Stockton native could throw a massive monkey wrench in those plans should he score what would be considered a major upset.
During an episode of ‘The MMA Hour,’ Ariel Helwani spoke with former multi-time UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen about the UFC 279 main event. While many believe the UFC’s goal in making the fight is to humiliate Nate Diaz on his way out the door, what happens if he wins? Helwani believes the UFC could end up backing themself in a corner and should Diaz win, the Stockton scrapper should get a $20 million payday and a date with Leon Edwards in London.
“What if Chael, on September 10th, Las Vegas, Nevada, ol’ Nathan Diaz does it one more time? What if he actually pulls it off, shocks the world?” Helwani said. “If I’m Dana White and the brass, no joke, I walk to the back, I say ‘Alright, that was your last fight, well played. You bet on yourself, you rolled the dice. We tried to screw you, you screwed us. Perfect. Here’s $20 million, forget Jake Paul. Title fight. England. You vs Leon 2.’”
Do we need to say much else?!
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) August 28, 2022
Nate Diaz vs. Khamzat Chimaev Asks Fans One Very Important Question: What If?
In MMA, you can never say never, but it is highly unlikely that the UFC would offer Diaz anywhere near that amount of money to stick around for a world title fight. Regardless, if Nate Diaz stops the Chechnyan hype train, the mystique of Chimaev will take a significant blow while Diaz’s stock will rise immensely after sitting on the sidelines for the most part over the past five years.
Responding to Ariel Helwani’s comments, Chael Sonnen shared his belief that while Diaz vs. Chimaev on paper looks like a severe mismatch, fans will tune in as they begin to ask themselves, what if?
“I hear what you’re saying, but that… Yes. Yes. You know what makes this fight work by the way? Dana found himself in a spot he wasn’t planning to be in. He took a huge star with Chimaev and a huge star in Diaz and the rest takes care of itself. Didn’t really fill in the card and there’s no title and off we go. This is gonna work, then the odds come out. It was eight-to-one from jump street. Eight-to-one beginning. 24 hours later, it was 12-to-1 and Dana was having to come in and almost justify why he was doing the match.
“I will tell you this, there is gonna be such a hype around this fight. It’s not here today and it wasn’t there the day it was announced. 72 hours before the bout, maybe as much as 96 hours, the big question [will be] what if? What if is going to sink into all of our minds. What if Nate Diaz wins this? What if Nate Diaz has one more left in the chamber? Everyone’s gonna want to see this fight because of those two words, what if.”