“Don’t be afraid, buddy.” It’s one of many diazisms that resides in the popular lexicon of MMA fans. The famous phrase was uttered by Nick Diaz towards KJ Noons after their first fight in Strikeforce in 2007.
For the Diaz brothers, the phrase isn’t just a bashing. It also highlights some of the reputation they cultivated around them; that they will fight anyone, anywhere. However, a UFC fighter is now questioning this aspect of the Diaz mystique.
At the UFC 274 press conference yesterday, former UFC interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje ripped Nate Diaz over a dispute they had online. That dispute included Diaz mocking Gaethje’s 2020 loss to undisputed champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Specifically, Diaz found it amusing that Gaethje succumbed to a mounted triangle.
“I heard he turned down Khabib about 20 times,” Gaethje charged (ht MMA enthusiast). “So for him to shit on me for losing to Khabib, I find that hilarious.”
Instances of Diaz turning down fights with Nurmagomedov aren’t widely reported, but that doesn’t mean they never happened. Gaethje most likely got this information from the manager he shares with Nurmageov, Ali Abdelaziz, but that doesn’t mean they happened.
Gaethje went on to talk about Diaz’s upcoming fight with Khamzat Chimaev, a fight that’s been in the ether since shots fired inside the UFC’s war room (displaying signs listing dozens of unannounced fights ) have gone viral.
“But if he fights Khamzat next, then I have to give him credit,” Gaethje said. “Of course (I don’t think he will win). But I’m a fan of this sport because anything can happen at any time. He’s not going to top it. It doesn’t even have the power to extinguish someone in the event of an accident. So no. No chance. It has 0% chance – 1% chance.
“This motherfucker lost over 15 times, like, come on,” Gaethje added. “So for him to criticize me for a loss, I found that funny. And I think he’s jealous because he’s finished. He’ll never be here. He’ll never fight for a world championship . He’ll never reach a world championship. In the history books, I’m already a world champion. I don’t like it. I don’t accept it. I have to get it right on Saturday but I’ll be in the Hall of Fame He should be too, but just because the fans love him.
Gaethje is expected to challenge Charles Oliveira for the UFC lightweight title this weekend. He earned his shot with a victory over Michael Chandler last November.
Diaz last appeared in the Octagon at UFC 263 last June. There he lost a unanimous decision to Leon Edwards. It was his first fight since a doctor stoppage (cut) loss to Jorge Masvidal in late 2019.