In an instant following his win over Anthony Pettis in August, Nate Diaz managed to inspire a new title that’s being introduced at UFC 244, and it might actually mean more to him than the gold belt that says welterweight champion.
Back at UFC 241, Diaz earned his first win in more than three years, and he immediately turned his attention towards Masvidal, who was coming off back-to-back knockouts against Darren Till and Ben Askren.
Diaz complimented Masvidal’s longevity in the sport. That staying power also made him want to fight the veteran. He knew Masvidal was the kind of game opponent who would bring out the best in both of them.
Diaz now faces Masvidal in the UFC 244 main event, with the winner being crowned the first ever “BMF” (baddest motherf*cker) champion. It’s a distinction he takes very seriously.
“We used to watch, me and my brother, just as kids, they’ll being showing me Royce Gracie taking out everybody in UFC,” Diaz explained when speaking to MMA Fighting ahead of UFC 244. “And we’re like this is the baddest motherf*cker right here. This is the baddest motherf*cker.
“I mean, Mike Tyson whipping everybody’s ass all over the place for years. And if somebody says, who’s the best boxer? Like Mike Tyson is the baddest motherf*cker. And then you have Rickson Gracie doing his thing in Japan, and (he’s) the best one in the family. And then somebody’s like, who is this? Like, that’s the baddest motherf*cker right there. That’s the best fighter there is. Pound-for-pound, GOAT (greatest of all time) type of sh*t.”
As he said post-fight after beating Pettis earlier this year, Diaz didn’t feel like the UFC was offering him the kind of opponents that were worthy of his attention, much less gave him a real incentive to compete.
Following back-to-back fights against Conor McGregor in 2016, Diaz was offered numerous fights as his UFC contract required. There wasn’t much of interest.
He was scheduled to return last November in a fight against Dustin Poirier, but that fight fell apart in the days leading up to the event, and Diaz eventually sat back down until a better opportunity came along.
After beating Pettis, Diaz zeroed in on Masvidal as the kind of opponent that would get him anxious to fight again, and now, he’s returning less than three months after his last outing.
“That’s how I felt about the whole fight game; that’s why I haven’t been around for three years, because there was no one even recognizing or paying attention,” Diaz said. “So I’m like well, I’m going to have to go tell them.
“And then so when I tell them what’s what, and then Jorge on the other hand is also—he’s been around as long as me, been in real fights.”
With this main event, Diaz will have the chance to prove who holds the current title of the “baddest motherf*cker in the game.”
“He’s been a real fighter and said who he is the whole time, and that’s the baddest motherf*cking sh*t that there is,” Diaz explained. “So I call it how I see it, and everybody else felt the same way. So that’s what it is.
“This is for the best fighter and the baddest motherf*cker man, the best fighter in the whole game. My brother [Nick] is not in the game right now, so I’m going to go and take over that position until he’s back in.”