A fight between Nate Diaz and Tony Ferguson could have happened at any point over the last 11 years, but it took a main event fighter badly missing weight and a shifting fight card for a match between them to actually take place.
During Friday’s weigh-in, undefeated welterweight Khamzat Chimaev missed weight by 7.5 pounds resulting in his scheduled main event bout against Diaz being scrapped. Ferguson was expected to face Li Jingliang but was moved to the featured fight against Diaz while Kevin Holland found himself aligned against Chimaev in the co-main event. Jingliang was slotted to take on Holland’s original opponent, Daniel Rodriguez.
After the hectic Friday, the event took at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday. It was the first time that Ferguson fought as a welterweight since winning The Ultimate Fighter 13 in 2011.
Diaz pressed forward and took the fight to Ferguson in the opening moments. Diaz checked a kick that opened a cut up on Ferguson’s left shin. Diaz connected with a combination and pointed at Ferguson in classic Diaz fashion. Ferguson missed with wild shots and Diaz is made him pay with counter shots.
They exchanged leg kicks to start the second frame. Ferguson stepped into the pocket and landed a right hand, but Diaz absorbed it and fired back. Ferguson began utilizing much more leg kicks. Diaz connected with a left hand that opened a cut above Ferguson’s right eye. Ferguson continued to target the lead leg of Diaz.
Ferguson’s leg kicks started to pay off with a clear lump on Diaz’ shin. Diaz is having issues with his leg. Diaz started walking around the cage. The referee instructed the two to engage. Diaz goes after Ferguson and then stands with his hand on top of the cage. He resumed fighting and Ferguson continued to land leg kicks. Diaz pressed forward and Ferguson retreated. Diaz unloaded with a flurry. Diaz’ leg is compromised, and Ferguson keeps targeting it. The round ended with Diaz resting his hands on top of the cage seemingly taking a break.
Diaz employed front kicks to the body to keep Ferguson on the outside through the first minute of round 4. Diaz connected with a left hand that staggered Ferguson. Diaz pressed forward with a combination. Ferguson covered and circled free. Diaz went to the body and Ferguson changed levels and took Diaz down. Diaz applied a guillotine choke. He flexes as Ferguson taps out.
It was Diaz’ last fight on his UFC contract. In his post-fight interview, Diaz indicated that he plans on returned to the UFC at some point but wants to take over another sport first.
“I want to get out of the UFC for a minute and show all these UFC fighters how to take over and own up another sport, how you’re supposed to do it. Conor McGregor didn’t know how to do it, and none of these other fighters know how to do it,” Diaz said to commentator Joe Rogan following the fight.
“So I’m going to go out there, I’m going to take over another profession and become the best at that, so everybody I’m the best at that and then I’m going to be right the f*ck back here to get a motherf**king UFC title, the best title in the world,” he said.