Kamaru Usman: Nate Diaz No Longer World-Class Fighter

Kamaru Usman believes Nate Diaz should not be considered for a UFC title shot at this stage of his career, despite Diaz’s recent callouts and past performance against Leon Edwards, suggesting instead that Diaz pursue high-profile but less competitive matches like those against Jake Paul or Conor McGregor.

Kamaru Usman doesn’t think Nate Diaz has any business competing for a 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 suggestion is one 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 the 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," he continued. "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. Usman didn’t equivocate with his answer.

“No,” Usman said flatly. “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 anymore."

"Are you crazy? Are you crazy?" Usman continued emphatically. "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—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 bluntly.

“At the end of the day," he added, "he landed it; it was an incredible punch, but that does not warrant him — because of that 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 contender lines in the UFC.

If Diaz is still looking for big names to fight, Usman likes other options better.

“Nate Diaz, PFL and Jake Paul will offer you $15 million to go into MMA and fight him in MMA," Usman suggested enthusiastically. "I’m taking that if I’m Nate."

“That,” he added confidently, “I think he actually wins that fight like that."

Shout-out to Nate again: “I think he actually wins a fight like that.”

“If Nate decides," Usman continued thoughtfully, "hey, I don’t want to just go take $15 million — if that’s even accurate — to fight Jake Paul in mixed martial arts…”

“The Conor McGregor fight’s still there,” he concluded with emphasis. “That’s a huge one.”


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