It’s not easy for many celebrities and former champions to leave their contracts with the UFC on a high note, so Gilbert Melendez is glad to see Diaz walk out.
The main event of last weekend’s UFC 279 in Las Vegas featured 37-year-old Diaz, who was 1-3 heading into the final bout of his UFC contract, against 28-year-old UFC welterweight contender Khamzat Chimaev. A tough opponent and a bout that Diaz preferred to avoid, this was neither.
Unfortunately, Chimaev failed to make weight by 7.5 pounds the day before the event, thus veteran and fellow UFC fighter Tony Ferguson was given to Diaz as a replacement opponent. In the end, Diaz won the bout via submission in the fourth round.
“It is crazy, and I don’t know if the UFC has ill intent or they’re just hardcore business, they’re like, kill the competition,” Melendez said.
“No matter how good you are or what you’ve done for the company, they want to make sure you get sent out – and no disrespect to everybody – but they want to try to send people out in body bags, so they don’t have a career ahead of him, you know?
“But Nate was up for the challenge and it didn’t matter the opponent. Nate was going to come and deliver and it was great seeing him get a victory in such a great fashion. And even to see the respect that Dana gave him and the respect that Nate gave the UFC after that win, someone in that position could’ve really dug it into the UFC or played it differently. Just everything that worked out, it was amazing.”
David Green, an Ohio-based sports reporter, brings his deep expertise in martial arts and riveting storytelling to Boxing.org. His compelling narratives and insightful analysis make him a valuable member of our team, delivering top-quality content to boxing enthusiasts.