UFC 244: Masvidal vs. Diaz – Preview

The one we have all been waiting for is finally here! Well, almost.

It seems like the build up to this stacked card which is set to take place at Madison Square Garden on Saturday has been going on forever, but now with fight week in full swing, you can almost feel the tensions rise with each passing day. UFC 244 is set to be headlined by the highly anticipated “BMF” title fight between Jorge Masvidal (34-13) and Nate Diaz (20-11). A fight that really materialized out of nothing — but is one that made so much sense in all aspects of the sport of MMA once it was scheduled.

Naturally, it wouldn’t be the UFC without some unnecessary drama one week before the fight (Diaz threatening to pull out after steroid accusations), but it feels as though the fight Gods are not going to take the “BMF” clash away from us now.

It all started after Diaz took a liking to Masvidal’s brutal KO victory over Ben Askren back in July. That convinced Diaz to get on the mic and call out “Gamebred” following his spectacular return win over Anthony Pettis. Diaz, who claims to only be interested in fights against “BMF’s” from here on out, couldn’t help but appreciate Masvidal’s style and toughness, and said that he was the only one worthy enough to challenge for his “BMF title.” Of course, Masvidal obliged. A man as game as anyone in the history of the sport didn’t think twice before expressing his interest in that matchup. And so, the matchmakers got to work.

It took some time, but finally, the bout got over the line. In the meantime, the social media buzz around that potential barn burning matchup was growing out of control. So much so, that this non-title fight ended up being the headliner at MSG. It is worth noting that no matter how stacked some fight cards have been in the past, there has always been that principle of a title fight headlining every PPV. Well, even though the one and done “BMF” belt will be on the line on Saturday, this technically is not a title fight — and with that, you can only imagine how desirable this matchup is for the MMA faithful and beyond.

On paper, and pretty much everywhere else, this bout has the makings of perhaps being the fight of the decade, let alone this year. The style’s of both Masvidal and Diaz are fearless. They both have that street toughness in them that has gotten the fans used to them being professional entertainers every time they have set foot in the cage.

We have to be honest, as respected and experienced as both Masvidal and Diaz are, they are by no means in the elite in terms of accomplishments. They have no UFC titles between them and some people may think of them as “journeymen.” But, that’s not what this fight is about. This fight is about the heart, determination, toughness, and everything else that goes into being a “BMF,” and both fighters have those in abundance. Assuming that there is really one way this fight is going, and that is to being an all out striking war — this bout is all about proving who the toughest man in the game is, and there are very few that would object to either Masvidal or Diaz holding that title.

Now, with that being said, a win for either fighter would do them nothing but good and propel them towards the gold that really matters in the Welterweight division. For Masvidal it would be his third in a row, and likely the one that would push him very close to that No. 1 contender spot. And for Diaz, defeating an opponent who has experienced the sort of meteoric rise to stardom as Masvidal would certainly line up yet another money fight or a possible crack at the title should the Stockton native be interested in them.

Regardless of the “BMF” gimmick, this fight is quite significant in the Welterweight division. The shiny belt that is being manufactured specifically for this fight is just an extra incentive for both fighters to put on the kind of show that everyone is expecting. A show that is worthy of headlining an event at the Mecca of sports. No matter what way you look at this matchup, it is difficult to find a scenario in which this fight disappoints. Get ready for fireworks.





Sports journalist based in CA, USA. Twitter: @ArionArmeniakos

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