Despite Nate Diaz declaring plans to leave the UFC after his win over Tony Ferguson, Dana White had nothing but praise for a fighter who has spent the last 15 years on his roster.
“He’s been here forever,” White said of Diaz at the UFC 279 post-fight press conference. “It’s been a blast having him here. I wish him well.
“Me and him had this discussion months ago at the offices. Whatever he moves on to do, I wish him nothing but the best. He’s starting his own organization or getting into promoting or doing something else, I wish him nothing but the best of luck. It’s been awesome having him here.”
Just prior to UFC 279, Diaz announced the formation of his own promotion — Real Fight, Inc. — where he plans to hold boxing matches, MMA fights, and even grappling competitions.
In addition to those plans, Diaz said he hopes to conquer other sports outside the UFC, with many believing a transition into boxing would be a natural fit, especially with lucrative fights against names like Jake Paul potentially awaiting him.
That said, Diaz also promised that he would eventually make his return to the UFC — and from the sound of things, White would gladly welcome him back.
“No matter what Nate does from here on out, this is his house,” White said.
As far as UFC 279’s main event itself, White expected things to play out almost exactly how it happened, with Diaz and Ferguson both bringing the best out of each other until Diaz’s fourth-round guillotine choke ended the bout.
White gave credit to Diaz and Ferguson, both of whom stepped up to save the show after Khamzat Chimaev failed to make weight for the main event, although White had to question the takedown attempt from Ferguson that eventually led to the submission finish.
“Listen, they’re both older guys that have been around here for a long time. It was what I expected,” White said.
“[Nate Diaz is] so durable and so tough. Literally, I don’t know if you guys have monitors or you can hear what’s going on, but we went into Tony’s corner that round and his corner for some reason told him to take [Diaz] down. [They] said, ‘Take him down.’ He was chopping that leg, kicking that front leg, obviously doing damage and his corner told him to take him down. Nate capitalized on that the minute he did it.”