Nate Diaz vs. Jorge Masvidal Headlines UFC 244
After days of reports on failed negotiations and possible main events, UFC 244 will be headlined by a welterweight fight between Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal.
UFC President Dana White confirmed the bout via an Instagram post at the start of UFC 242.
Diaz successfully returned to the Octagon for the first time in three years at UFC 241 three weeks ago, defeating Anthony Pettis. Following the fight, Diaz called out Masvidal, whose 2019 has seen him score vicious knockouts of Darren Till and Ben Askren, the latter of which became the fastest knockout in UFC history at only five seconds.
“There ain’t no gangsters anymore in this game but me and him, but he ain’t no west coast gangster,” Diaz said in his call-out, which is played at the start of the promo.
UFC 244’s originally planned main event appeared to Kamaru Usman defending the UFC welterweight title against Colby Covington; however, negotiations for the bout appeared to have failed.
During an interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, White discussed how the fight came together, joking that he would create a “bad [expletive]” belt for the two to fight for. The last UFC card to not be headlined by a UFC title fight was UFC 234 earlier this year, when Israel Adesanya fought Anderson Silva. Prior to that, it was UFC 202, which was headlined by the second encounter between Diaz and Conor McGregor.
“This whole thing started to materialize last night,” White said. “Diaz’s guys ended up going back and forth with us, and we ended up getting it done. Masvidal is pumped for this fight, Diaz is pumped for this fight, I’m excited for it and I’m sure the fans are very excited to see it. It will be the main event. Five rounds of Nate Diaz vs. Jorge Masvidal at Madison Square Garden.”
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) September 7, 2019