By Jonny Ward
“I know my man’s a gangster but he ain’t no West Coast gangster!”
It’s August 2019 and Nate Diaz, mic in hand, is stood Octagon centre, as roars echo from his home crowd at UFC 241 California after defeating former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis via unanimous decision on the back of a 3 year break from the sport. The man he has just called out is Miami born veteran Jorge Masivdal. This. Is. Huge.
On 2nd of November we will see both men lay it on the line in Madison Square Garden, the Mecca of combat sports, as the headline act competing to be able call themselves the “Baddest Mother Fucker” in the game; a title Nate claimed to have just defended in his victory over Pettis and who are we to disagree?
Baddest Mother FuckerUFC President, Dana White, has made it official splashing $50,000 in creating a one off “BMF Belt” which we are told will be wrapped around the victor’s waist by none other than Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Talk about a spectacle!
Fight of the NightNate’s body of work speaks for itself: he holds the UFC record for the most ‘Fight of the Night’ awards and has the 2nd highest number of performance related bonuses ever. For all intents and purposes this man shows up to go to war every single fight. If you could only buy one UFC box office event all year and wanted to guarantee yourself a good show, then go find a card with Nate Diaz on and you are statistically the most likely to be entertained.
You would have been forgiven for thinking in the build up to his last fight that perhaps ring rust would play a part. When a fighter has a significant layoff from the sport questions are always asked of how they have been looking after themselves physically? Are they still training? Anyone unsure only had to check out the USA National Records and seen he has registered top 10 finishes in each of the four triathalons he has completed since last year. Proving that not only is Diaz an incredible fighter, but he is also a world class athlete.
So we all know how Nate earned his seat at the table, not forgetting his last 2 fights before this comeback making the top 5 list for the biggest grossing UFC Pay Per Views of all time, but what about his opponent?
Super NecessaryJorge ‘Street Jesus’ Masvidal has resurrected his career in 2019 by knocking out the much hyped Darren Till in the headline bout of the London Fight Night show back in March.
His stock went truly astronomical in July’s UFC 239 obliterating the 19-0 undefeated Ben Askren with a thunderous flying knee to the head followed by a few “super necessary” blows to the face with Askren already out cold on the canvas.
It was the quickest victory in UFC history in just 5 seconds and Masvidal was just as ruthless in his post-fight presser exclaiming: “If you want sheer violence, then you know who to call.”
Like Diaz, he has etched a reputation as a one of the toughest men in the business from bare knuckle fighting in back yards as a teenager with Kimbo Slice to making his professional debut all the way back in 2003.
This man has been scrapping all on comers for the best part of 20 years. Add to the mix that he gifts interviewers some of the best sound bites you’ll ever hear and you begin to wonder why it’s taken so long for this man to finally get his well-deserved lime light.
“You’ve got to recognise who the best of the best is in this game, and it’s not who they’re saying it is. It’s who I’m saying it is.”
Could Nate Diaz have struck gold and paved the way for more BMF showcases? The manner in which he called out Masvidal and got his wish begs the question; is he is now the matchmaker calling the shots?
Diaz is now not funnelled through the ranking system of the weight class to get to the big pay days exclusively reserved for the Division’s Champion. He is not necessarily even confined to a specific weight class. So what does BMF really stand for? Baddest Mother Fucker or Brilliant Marketing Foresight?
PredictionNate Diaz on points, but really it’s the fans who will win. So until then, let’s get hyped…