Dana White explains why matchmaking Nate Diaz’s last fight wasn’t easy

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UFC president Dana White thinks it will be “sad” to see one of the most popular UFC fighters exit the promotion, but believes fans will enjoy his last matchup.

In the main event of UFC 279 in September, Nate Diaz will make his final walk to the UFC’s octagon to face off against one of the hottest undefeated prospects in the entire sport, Khamzat Chimaev.

White and the matchmakers have been trying to get a fight for Diaz (20-13 MMA, 18-12 UFC) for some time now, but the pairing against Chimaev (11-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) raised a few questions. Diaz’s 31st and final UFC bout will potentially be one of his toughest, but White explains why getting to this point was perhaps equally tough to manage.

“I care about Nate a lot, I like Nate,” White told MMA Junkie and other reporters at the DWCS 47 post-event news conference. “Nate came in here long before that fight was ever made and we were talking about it being his last fight. I said, ‘Listen kid.’ You think about the wars that Nate Diaz has put on, the incredible fights, and big fights that he’s done with us, go do whatever you want to do, man. But getting a fight done with him isn’t as easy as it seems.

“Everybody’s like, ‘Well, why don’t you make a fight?’ Well, he asked for Francis Ngannou, you know? I could go on forever, but I won’t. We got it done. That’s the fight he wanted, we made it, and here we are.”

While some may view the matchup as a harsh exit for Diaz, the UFC boss thinks the pairing makes sense from a fan perspective.

“It’s a good fight,” White said. “It’s a fight that people will want to see. It’s a fight that people will be interested in, so we’re gonna do it.”

Diaz will enter the bout against Chimaev on a two-fight losing streak. He faced Jorge Masvidal in the main event of UFC 244, recording a loss after a stoppage due to a severe cut. In his following bout, Diaz dropped a unanimous decision to Leon Edwards at UFC 263.

Regardless of how things turn out in September, White admits seeing the end of Diaz’s run that began on Season 5 of The Ultimate Fighter will be disheartening.

“It’s always sad,” White said. “Jessica Eye just laid her gloves down, ‘Cowboy’ (Donald Cerrone) just laid his gloves down and came and said thank you to me a couple of days ago. It’s one of those things in pro sports that sucks: it eventually comes to an end.

“My big thing is it’s just all about getting people out at the right time. Some you do, and some you don’t. They’re able to do whatever they want to do so if they want to go and continue to fight, that’s up to them.”

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