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"This is an exciting guy" - Coach Cesar Graci wanted Nate Diaz to face Michael Chandler ahead of Khamzat Chimaev

(from left to right) Khamzat Chimaev, Nate Diaz, and Michael Chandler (images courtesy of @khamzat_chimaev, @natediaz209, and @mikechandlermma from Instagram)
(from left to right) Khamzat Chimaev, Nate Diaz, and Michael Chandler (images courtesy of @khamzat_chimaev, @natediaz209, and @mikechandlermma from Instagram)

Nate Diaz’s coach Cesar Gracie has revealed that he wanted his star pupil to face Michael Chandler in his next fight. This was before the UFC booked Khamzat Chimaev to face Diaz in what’s purportedly the Stockton native’s final UFC bout.

Many believe that Diaz has been matched up against wrestling savant Chimaev, as the former generally struggles against elite wrestlers. It appears that the UFC wants to dent the outgoing Diaz’s brand value. Speaking to Submission Radio, Gracie asserted that Diaz-Chimaev is “a weird matchup.” Regardless, he feels that since it's five rounds, his student could beat 'Borz' by dragging him into deep water.

Gracie explained that Chimaev competed in the middleweight (185-pound) division and moved down to the welterweight (170-pound) division. Meanwhile, Diaz, who’s had most of his MMA fights in the lightweight (155-pound) division, currently competes at welterweight. He indicated that Diaz doesn’t cut much weight to make 170 lbs and would be undersized against Chimaev.

Furthermore, Gracie noted that he wanted Nate Diaz to fight UFC lightweight star Michael Chandler, likely at welterweight. Meanwhile, Diaz was also interested in fighting lightweight mainstay Dustin Poirier. Gracie stated:

“This [Chimaev vs. Diaz] is an interesting fight for sure. I can tell you it wasn’t on my list. I was trying to have him fight [Michael] Chandler, actually, because Chandler wanted to come up in weight. And I said, ‘Man, this is an exciting guy. Look, he’s going to go for it. Nate’s an exciting fighter. Let’s have this fight happen.’ Nate wanted to fight [Dustin] Poirier because they’ve had a few; they were supposed to fight before.”

Watch Gracie discuss the topic at 10:27 in the video below:

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Chael Sonnen outlines Nate Diaz’s path to victory against Khamzat Chimaev

Nate Diaz will face Khamzat Chimaev in a five-round welterweight bout that’ll headline UFC 279 on September 10. The consensus is that Chimaev will dominantly defeat Diaz. In a recent edition of Beyond the Fight, Chael Sonnen echoed similar sentiments but acknowledged that Diaz could pull off the upset.

OH MY GOODNESS 😳😱🤯Khamzat Chimaev 🆚 Nate Diaz verbally agreed for #UFC279 per @bokamotoESPN 👀T-Mobile Arena. Main Event. Five Rounds 🔥 https://t.co/h1HuPKmSLr

Putting forth his take regarding Nate Diaz’s likeliest path to a win against ‘Borz,’ Sonnen brought up his brilliant BJJ skills. Predicting that Diaz could latch onto a submission and beat Chimaev, Sonnen said:

"He [Diaz] is more likely to finish Chimaev than anything else. He is far more likely to put that shot and squeeze that choke, stretch out that arm than he is to a decision or even to a TKO, where he's beating him up so bad that the referee has to step in, show some mercy."

Watch Sonnen’s assessment below:

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Edited by Allan Mathew
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