Nate Diaz vs. Jorge Masvidal to headline UFC 244 at MSG


Nate Diaz seen here flexing for the fans while leaving the stage following the UFC 202 weigh-ins in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)

There won’t be a title on the line the next time the UFC holds an event at Madison Square Garden, however mixed martial arts fans won’t be disappointed in the headliner the organization settled on.

A welterweight bout between longtime fan favourites Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal was officially announced as the UFC 244 main event.

The matchup came together three weeks after Diaz challenged Masvidal following an impressive UFC 241 victory over Anthony Pettis.

“The reason I was off is because everybody sucked and there was nobody to fight. … Jorge Masvidal had a good last fight,” Diaz said after his first Octagon appearance since August of 2016. “All respect to the man, but there ain’t no gangsters in this game anymore. There ain’t nobody who’s done it right but me and him. So, I know my man’s a gangster, but he ain’t no West Coast gangster. You know what I’m saying?”

Diaz is from Stockton Calif., while Masvidal represents Miami so New York will serve as a neutral location.

The public immediately embraced the idea of these two facing off against one another and the contracts were printed and signed in relatively short order.

Typically, a non-title fight wouldn’t headline a marquee pay-per-view card like this one but UFC president Dana White told ESPN he “would never put a title fight underneath this. There won’t be a title fight.”

White added: “It’s one of those fights that is fun, interesting, fans are into it, you want to see for five rounds — yet it’s too big to be a Fight Night [main event]. “So we made it a pay-per-view. I will end up stacking this card with killer fights.”

Kelvin Gastelum vs. Darren Till at middleweight and Corey Anderson vs. Johnny Walker at light-heavyweight are among the other fights currently expected to take place at the Nov. 2 event.

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