Two weeks ago, the plan was for Nate Diaz to return to welterweight and fight Matt Brown at UFC 189. But as soon as the fight was announced, Diaz poured water on it. Now, Tim Means has stepped up to fight Brown, according to UFC officials.
Though Diaz liked the idea of fighting Brown, he said it was never negotiated and he felt he was being strong-armed into the fight. The UFC quickly moved on to Option B.
Means is fresh off of a victory over George Sullivan at this past weekend’s UFC on FOX 15 in New Jersey, but he didn’t waste any time accepting his next fight.
Currently sporting a 24-6-1 record, Means has won six of his last seven bouts, including his four most recent contests. The fight with Brown represents the biggest opportunity of his career. He’s on the outside of the Top 15 rankings looking in, while Brown currently occupies the No. 5 spot. A win would catapult him up the welterweight ladder.
Brown (19-13) enters the fight with Means having lost back-to-back bouts to former welterweight titleholder Johny Hendricks and current champion Robbie Lawler. That put a stop to a seven-fight winning streak. Brown is hoping to spark a new streak at UFC 189.
The July 11 event is shaping up to be the UFC’s most stacked card of the year. It is headlined by featherweight champion Jose Aldo defending his belt against Conor McGregor, and Lawler putting his title on the line against Rory MacDonald.