UFC 279: Nate Diaz's coach claims star is a better grappler than Khamzat Chimaev

  • Tom Ward
Nate Diaz and Khamzat Chimaev

Nate Diaz is a ‘better grappler’ than Khamzat Chimaev, his head coach Cesar Gracie has claimed.

Diaz, 37, is set to face Chimaev, 28, in the main event of UFC 279 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on September 10.

Many fans and pundits believe that the longer the fight goes on, the more chance Diaz has, and that if it finishes early, it will go to Chimaev.

Gracie explained that the game plan is to try and survive the early rounds, before winning the later rounds.

ALL THE INFO: UFC 279: Date, Announced Fight Card, Location and more

He told Submission Radio: “He’s putting the pressure on himself to finish this fight pretty quick, and if he comes out hard like that, I think that’ll work into Nate’s favour, to be honest with you. 

“I think Nate has to bring him into deep water. Obviously, gotta be in shape to do that. Nate’s always in shape.

“Standing up, I give the edge to Nate. On the ground, I think Nate’s a better grappler.

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“But you’re fighting a younger guy that’s strong. It’s definitely a tough fight, but there’s ways to win this fight.”

Gracie admitted that he was surprised that Diaz received the call to fight Chimaev.

However, in a way he can understand why the UFC have done it.

He added: “This is an interesting fight for sure. I can tell you it wasn’t on my list. I was trying to have him fight [Michael] Chandler, actually, because Chandler wanted to come up in weight and I said, ‘Man, this is an exciting guy.

“Look, he’s going to go for it. Nate’s an exciting fighter, let’s have this fight happen. Nate wanted to fight [Dustin] Poirier because they’ve had a few, they were supposed to fight before.

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“Obviously, I’m not privy to what the UFC is talking about, but what you just described is exactly how I feel about it.

“So, what the fans are thinking is – it’s no secret when you wanna leave the UFC, they wanna make sure you’re not gonna leave as a winner.

“They wanna make sure that you’re not gonna help another organization out is what I’m thinking. 

“So the fights that made sense, with Poirier, and there’s a lot of other fights that made a lot more sense, they [UFC] said no to.”

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