Nate Diaz brought the curtain down on his 15-year UFC career by forcing Tony Ferguson to tap out in the fourth round of their bout at UFC 279 on Saturday night.
The 37-year-old had originally been scheduled to face Khamzat Chimaev in the main event at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, but ‘Borz’ badly missed weight to force a hasty reshuffling of the card.
Ferguson, who had been due to fight Li Jingliang, stepped up at short notice and caused Diaz problems with his kicks throughout the bout.
However, Diaz was coming out on top on the boxing front and had Ferguson hurt in the fourth before ‘El Cucuy’ went for an ill-advised takedown attempt.
Diaz quickly caught Ferguson in a guillotine, locking in and forcing Ferguson to tap to earn his first UFC victory in over three years and end a run of back-to-back defeats.
After the bout, Diaz confirmed his intention to leave UFC and move into boxing, although he suggested that he would return to UFC again in the future.
“I wanna get out of the UFC for a minute and show all these UFC fighters how to take over another sport how you’re supposed to do,” Diaz said when interviewed after the fight.
“Conor McGregor didn’t know how to do it and none of these other fighters know how to do it.
“So, I’m going to take over another profession and show everyone I’m the best at that then I’ll be right the f*** back to get a UFC title – the best motherf***ing title in the world.”
Diaz’s original opponent Chimaev instead fought Kevin Holland in a bout made all the more attractive by the pair’s involvement in a huge backstage brawl earlier in the week, resulting in the press conference for the event being cancelled.
It was a one-sided contest in the octagon, though, as Holland failed to land a single strike on the unbeaten Chimaev, whose wrestling skills allowed him to dominate and force the American to tap to a d’arce choke inside two minutes.
Elsewhere, Ferguson’s original opponent Li Jingliang gave up a weight advantage to take on Daniel Rodriguez, who also saw a late reshuffle having been due to face Holland.
Rodriguez outpointed the Chinese fighter, while there were also wins for Irene Aldana and Johnny Walker on the night.