The rumored fight between Khamzat Chimaev (11-0) and Nate Diaz (20-13) is on. The two welterweights will main event UFC 279 on Sept. 10 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. 

Chimaev’s coach, Andreas Michael, was glad the 28-year-old found a challenger who is a big name and star in the UFC. 

“It’s a perfect fight for us because we’re fighting a named opponent… we want to fight the best,” Michael told Submission Radio. “I would like us to fight against the best because to be the best, you have to beat the best and that’s a dying ideology nowadays.”

Diaz last fought at UFC 263 in a unanimous decision loss against Leon Edwards. He has back-to-back losses against Edwards and Jorge Masvidal. Michael, the head coach of Allstars Training Camp, is not underestimating the Stockton native. 

“He gave Leon a tough fight. He’s at no means an easy opponent for us,” Michael said. “It’s a good name. He’s a veteran of the game that has fought everyone and anyone. It’s a good experience and we’re not taking him lightly.”

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Michael went on to state that he hopes Chimaev will be able to face off against Kamaru Usman (or Leon Edwards if he wins at UFC 277) next, before making the move up to middleweight for a bout against the winner of Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira.

“I think that we would like to, me personally – I cannot talk about what Khamzat would like – but I would like to fight the winner of Leon or Usman,” Michael stated. “That would be a very tough fight for both guys. (Fight) the winner of that one, and then move up directly. And if (Israel) Adesanya’s still the champion (at middleweight) after he fights (Alex) Pereira, which is a monster that guy, then we would fight the champ there – whoever is the champ there. I believe, in a perfect world for us, that’s how it would look. But you know, fighting is unpredictable.”

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Khamzat Chimaev Is The Odds-On Favorite Over Nate Diaz

Some fighters and fans are convinced that Chimaev is a bad matchup for Diaz, who is fighting his last bout on his UFC contract. Michael believes the fight is rewarding for both Chimaev and Diaz. 

“At no means is it not beneficial for Nate because for him to accept this fight, you can understand he got paid or he’s getting paid. He’s not going to accept this fight out of nowhere,” Michael said. It’s beneficial for him as well as it is for us and it’s a good fight.”

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Chimaev has been on a roll in the UFC. He made an early impact in a two-month span in 2020 where he earned three-straight finishes. Then, he turned his attention to the top-15 of the welterweight division. He secured a submission win over Li Jingliang and went five rounds with Gilbert Burns. 

After the win over Burns, rumors were circulating on potential opponents for Chimaev, including Colby Covington. Michael is confident that a fight with Diaz brings more attention and revenue than a matchup with Covington. 

“I’d rather have this fight, it’s a bigger draw. This fight is a big event,” Michael said. “It is an event that sells more at the T-Mobile Arena in Vegas. What more can you ask for against one of the biggest names in the UFC?”

Marc Ray has lived his entire life in Houston, Texas, where he was born, raised and attended the University of Houston, studying broadcast journalism. As you may imagine, he spends much of his time watching mixed martial arts as part of his daily routine — not only to pump himself up, but also because he deeply enjoys the sport. Ray has worked for Houston Public Media, where he interned in the newsroom and produced community stories. Ray also created sports features in Houston for El Gato Media Network and occasionally produced content for an internship at AARP.