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Kamaru Usman: Nate Diaz isn’t a ‘world-class fighter’ anymore

Kamaru Usman doesn’t think Nate Diaz has any business competing for UFC title.

Though that may seem obvious to most fight fans, the possibility was raised by Diaz himself after he defeated Jorge Masvidal in a boxing match in Anaheim, Calif., this past Saturday. Diaz called for a rematch with either Jake Paul or UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards, the latter of which is a suggestion Usman balks at.

On his Pound 4 Pound podcast, Usman argued that Diaz belongs nowhere near a legitimate title shot at this stage of his career.

“Nate Diaz is on completely tail end of his career,” Usman said. “Yes, of course, he’s made a great name for himself, big shout-out to Nate Diaz for still having that notoriety to be able to go out there and still get paychecks like this, because he’s getting all these good fights on the outside.

“But come on, to say Nate Diaz is going to come back in and walk into fighting world-class mixed martial arts fighters right now in the UFC, come on. That’s absurd. That’s crazy.”

Usman’s co-host Henry Cejudo asked him if he believes Diaz is no longer the contender he once was, and Usman didn’t equivocate with his answer.

“No,” Usman said. “He was. And don’t get me wrong, shout-out to Nate Diaz, Nate Diaz can still fight. But he’s not a world-class fighter. Are you crazy? Are you crazy? Throw Nate Diaz in there with Shavkat Rakhmonov. Throw Nate Diaz in there with myself. Throw Nate Diaz in there with [Jack Della Maddalena]. Throw Nate Diaz in there with Justin Gaethje. Come on.”

Cejudo argued that Diaz’s name value and history with Edwards would at least have the matchmakers considering the possibility. Diaz fought Edwards at UFC 263 in June 2021, and though Edwards dominated the majority of the bout, a late strike from Edwards had the future champion visibly wobbled. It’s a moment that has become an indelible part of Diaz lore.

However, Usman isn’t convinced that the oft-repeated highlight should matter when appraising a potential matchup.

“Nate landed a sneaky punch after Leon beat the dog crap out of him for four and a half rounds,” Usman said. “At the end of the day, he landed it, it was an incredible punch, but that does not warrant him — because of that, he had one moment in the fight, we’re going to give him a title shot just because? Get serious.”

Usman made sure to praise Diaz for his durability, longevity, and drawing power, but stopped short of agreeing with the notion that Diaz should simply skip any of the contender lines in the UFC.

If Diaz is still looking for big names to fight, Usman likes the idea of Diaz following up on Paul’s previous big-money offer to fight him inside PFL, or a Conor McGregor trilogy bout that has loomed for years since their memorable two-fight series in 2016.

“Nate Diaz, PFL and Jake Paul will offer you $15 million to go into MMA and fight him in MMA. I’m taking that, Nate Diaz,” Usman said. “That, I think he actually wins that fight like that. Shout-out to Nate Diaz, I think he actually wins a fight like that.”

“If Nate Diaz decides, hey, I don’t want to just go take $15 million — if that’s the number — to fight Jake Paul in mixed martial arts, the Conor McGregor fight’s still there,” Usman added. “That’s a huge one.”

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