Nate and Nick Diaz are two of the toughest and most respected fighters in UFC history, but the fighting brothers may have picked on the wrong opponent in Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The unbeaten Russian, who retired after defeating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, is currently enjoying watching fights rather than competing – but his drive and desire remain as strong as ever.
Nate Diaz squared up to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 239YouTube
Diaz, who branded the 29-0 fighter a ‘p****’ at the weekend, is reportedly returning to lightweight and will surely hope to get his hands on the Russian inside the cage after their altercation outside of it.
The first incident took place at the World Series of Fighting (now the Professional Fighters League) in 2015 when Khabib was watching his brother fight on the same night as Jake Shields, a friend of the Diaz brothers.
Diaz recalled the altercation when asked by Ariel Helwani in October 2019 whether he would be interested in fighting UFC lightweight champion Khabib.
“No, I was when it was interesting, now it’s like kicking a dead dog,” he said.
Both brothers had a crack at the Russian at the World Series of Fighting in 2015YouTube
“I’m not into this bully s***, he’s [Khabib] into bullying and stuff, that’s his thing,” Diaz added.
“When I ran into him and his team at the World Series, I was standing there watching Jake, my friend, fight. And they took a group picture with me behind them, just to laugh at me, make fun of me.
“[Khabib] is like, ‘Ah, come on, man’ and they’re all laughing, 12 Russian dudes. I slapped him in his face for making fun of me and I’m like, ‘What?’ And he didn’t do nothing.”
“I was outside furious,” Diaz added of the 2015 incident. “So I waited for him to come out there and I went to get him again and he ran off.
Masvidal knocked out Ben Askren in mere seconds at UFC 239Getty Images – Getty
Amanda Nunes also provided a spectacular KOGetty Images – Getty
“I shouldn’t have done that. It was reckless, it was stupid. I was mad, but he was picking on me. So now he’s trying to act like ‘Mr Make It Right’. ‘I’m Mr Good, this guy’s a piece of s***, I don’t need this trash talk’.
“Whatever, you were going to pick on me…trying to act like the victim, that Conor [McGregor] was picking on him.”
Security arrived and duly kicked the younger Diaz brother out, before tempers flared once again at UFC 239.
Despite all the action on that card in July 2019 (which saw Jorge Masvidal and Amanda Nunes record massive knockout wins) the two men nearly came to blows once again.
“Those two were within two rows of each other and then they started to get into a fight and we broke it up and we got it handled,” Dana White told BT Sport.
When asked if he knew what was said, White said: “I’m sure a lot of bad things were said. I’m not sure exactly … I’m sure it was not good.”
Khabib is currently still retired – despite the best advances of Dana White – although he will apparently keep a close eye on the main and co-main events of UFC 257.
Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor will lock horns at the top of the bill, with Dan Hooker welcoming UFC debutant Michael Chandler to the octagon.
Khabib Nurmagomedov immediately retired after UFC 254 following his win over Justin GaethjeGetty Images – Getty
Although the 35-year-old from Stockton lost his last fight as a welterweight against Jorge Masvidal in November 2019, White believes there is plenty more to come.
White told TheMacLife: “We’re working on a Nate Diaz fight right now. And it is not Tony [Ferguson], but if we get it done, I think you’re gonna like it.”
Quizzed on the weight, White responded: “Lightweight – 55.”