Bryan Barberena says that, unlike Nate Diaz, he is a true embodiment of what it means to be willing to fight anyone, anytime.
Prior to this past weekend’s UFC Vegas 44 card, Bryan Barberena was scheduled to face UFC legend Matt Brown in a fight that carried massive Fight of the Night potential. Unfortunately, a COVID-19 contraction forced Brown to withdraw only two weeks out from the brawl. Undeterred, Barberena flew out to Vegas anyway, willing to fight literally anyone the UFC put in front of him.
That person turned out to be the debuting Darian Weeks. After a rocky start, Barberena was able to break down the 28-year-old upstart en route to a unanimous decision victory. This short-notice free-for-all served as another example of Barberena’s identity as a throwback fighter who is always down to scrap, no questions asked.
The same has often been said of Stockton legend Nate Diaz. Like Barberena, Diaz is often praised for his toughness and his non-discriminating willingness to scrap, regardless of the name or location. However, after Diaz publicly refused to fight “rookie” Khamzat Chimaev, Barberena is more confused by Diaz’s behavior than anything, while he is the one who is truly down to fight anyone (h/t MMA Junkie).
“I will fight anybody. Nate Diaz, he’s a stud and whatever, but he’s over here like ‘(Khamzhat) Chimaev, you don’t deserve to fight me.’ Man, I’m here to fight everybody. If your name comes on the contract, I’m signing it. I don’t care whose name is on it – I’m signing it because I’m here to fight everybody. … I’m here to test myself against everybody. Bring it on,” Barberena said during his UFC Vegas 44 post-fight media scrum.
Barberena isn’t the only one to throw shade at Diaz for his rejection of Chimaev. Conor McGregor called Diaz a “bitch” for turning down the fight, and Dana White implied that Diaz simply wants no part of Chimaev.
As for Barberena, the top name he’d be willing to fight next is the same name he expected to fight last Saturday, another “anywhere, anytime” kind of guy, fellow veteran Matt Brown.
“I would like to get the Matt Brown matchup back,” Barberena said. “That was kind of a dream matchup. He’s a legend.”