HomeSportsDana White: Khamzat Chimaev vs. Nate Diaz 'wouldn't have been good'

Dana White: Khamzat Chimaev vs. Nate Diaz ‘wouldn’t have been good’

Dana White comes to the notion that UFC 279’s reworked lineup may have been a blessing in disguise.

The UFC president was caught in the middle earlier this month after Khamzat Chimaev’s 7.5-pound weight miss forced a frenetic reshuffle of UFC 279’s pay-per-view just 24 hours before the night of the fight. After much negotiation, the original fight card – Chimaev vs. Nate Diaz, Tony Ferguson vs. Li Jingliang and Kevin Holland vs. Daniel Rodriguez – a completely different form, with Diaz vs. Ferguson to headline the event and Chimaev vs. Both the Netherlands and Rodriguez vs. Jingliang complete the lineup.

Fans and media widely praised the move as bolstering the map with more competitive matchups than the original form. And after watching Chimaev devastate the Netherlands via first-round submission while barely sweating, White has come up with the idea that UFC 279’s original tent match may not have been the most competitive affair.

“After you watch the fight, you realize that Khamzat vs. Nate Diaz would have been f****** — that wouldn’t have been right,” White said on “The Action Junkeez Podcast.” “Khamzat, I know the fans got mad at him for not gaining weight and everything else but Jesus f****** Christ. What he went out and put on Kevin Holland – did you see Kevin Holland post the photo recently that his eyes were all red from the damn constriction? I mean, god damn it.”

For what it’s worth, the original bet lines didn’t reflect White’s surprise. Chimaev opened as a huge betting favorite from the moment Chimaev vs. Diaz was announced as Diaz’s final UFC appearance, and those odds only got bigger as UFC 279 got closer. By the time fight week rolled around, Chimaev was listed in some sports books as a 12-to-1 favorite, while Diaz was available with such high 8-to-1 underdog odds.

Chimaev opened as an equally big favorite against the Netherlands, which made sense considering Chimaev’s greatest strength – wrestling – has historically been the Netherlands’ biggest weakness. But White argues that anyone who claims to have expected Chimaev to drive through the Netherlands as easily as he is is simply not being honest with themselves.

“[People were saying,] “Yes, I expected that.” No, you fucking didn’t,” White said. “If you’re really honest when you say you expected Khamzat to fucking destroy Kevin Holland, then you’re lying. There’s just no way. Kevin Holland is a bad motherf*****.”

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