Earlier this month at UFC 279, Nate Diaz submitted Tony Ferguson in a short-notice main event to ensure he ended his UFC run on a high. The Stockton king was initially supposed to battle Khamzat Chimaev but after the Chechen star missed weight by 7.5 pounds, Diaz didn’t hesitate in accepting a fight against Ferguson – which, ironically, was a contest many fans had been waiting a long time to see.
While neither man was properly prepared for the contest given that they’d been gearing up to face different opponents, they were still able to produce four really fun rounds before Diaz caught ‘El Cucuy’ in a choke and forced the tap.
Throughout the course of fight week, Diaz made it known that he had spent a large portion of his training camp focusing on the wrestling side of his game in order to prepare for the physicality and intensity of Chimaev. Of course, when that bout fell through, he had to switch to a different game plan with Ferguson’s style being completely different.
In a new clip that’s been released, Diaz can be heard admitting to his long-time coach Richard Perez that he was starting to get tired from the volume of shots he was throwing at his fellow veteran.
Video: Nate Diaz was ‘getting tired’ against Tony Ferguson
“He wasn’t wrestling. The whole camp I didn’t punch, I was doing wrestling. So I was getting tired throwing those punches.”
Richard Perez, ever the optimist, replied with words of praise.
“You were landing, though. You were landing, Nathan.”
A fun road ahead
It’s not an exaggeration to suggest that Nate Diaz is the hottest free agent to ever hit the open market in mixed martial arts.
The 37-year-old may no longer be in the prime of his career, but he’s certainly got a handful of options as he gets ready for what is bound to be a really fun negotiation period. He’s teased the idea of trying out pro wrestling, he could stay in MMA and head to another promotion, he could try his hand at boxing, or he could even venture over to BKFC.
The important thing for Nate is that he is now in control of his own destiny and that can be a pretty powerful thing for a fighter. Outside of Conor McGregor and perhaps Khabib Nurmagomedov, there aren’t many other athletes on the UFC roster that can claim to have reached a higher level of stardom than Diaz – and that should bode very, very well for him in this next chapter.