Chimaev and Diaz were scheduled to face off in the UFC 279 main event tonight in Las Vegas. Now, after Chimaev missed weight by 7.5 pounds, he will be facing Kevin Holland in a catchweight bout instead while Diaz headlines opposite Tony Ferguson.
This will be the last fight of Diaz’s contract and he isn’t expected to re-sign. Chimaev, meanwhile, is looking to remain unbeaten and move one step closer to a shot at a UFC title against Holland.
Diaz had played up a narrative of him and Chimaev disliking each other ahead of their originally scheduled fight. But on the contrary, Chimaev thinks highly of Diaz.
During a recent interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto and prior to the UFC 279 matchup shakeups, Chimaev said he has watched Diaz for years and considers himself a fan of his style.
“Of course, I am a fan,” Chimaev said. “If you’re not a fan, what are you doing here? I think the guys who say I don’t like nobody, [you’re a] liar. Because you look up at somebody, you have to look up to somebody. If you go on playing tennis, you’re gonna look up to the best guys who are playing good. Guy’s been at the top all his life. I look up to him, and other guys, watch their fights, learn something… I like the guy.”
Chimaev went on to answer what specifically he’s admired about Diaz during his career.
“He’s a tough guy,” Chimaev admitted. “Everyone respects tough guys. A warrior, I’m a warrior, and warriors always respect the warriors.”
An example of Diaz’s toughness can be pointed to his loss to Leon Edwards at UFC 263. Despite taking a high amount of damage, he stunned and badly wobbled Edwards in the final minute, nearly finishing the fight.
Are you a big fan of Nate Diaz?