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Jorge Masvidal’s coach reveals strategy against Nate Diaz, believes rematch would be just as one-sided

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Jorge Masvidal dominating Nate Diaz for the better part of three rounds at UFC 244 may have been a surprise to some but certainly not to his head coach Mike Brown.

The American Top Team stalwart helped lay out the strategy to pick Diaz apart and then he watched as Masvidal execute the game plan with almost surgical precision.

Over 15 minutes, Masvidal earned a pair of knockdowns while out landing Diaz by an impressive 112 to 43 in significant strikes. Along the way, Masvidal busted Diaz open with a vicious elbow strike, which eventually led to the finish when the ringside physician would not allow the fight to continue due to the laceration sustained over his right eyebrow.

According to Brown, almost everything that was orchestrated in the training camp played out in the fight minus a few weapons that Masvidal never actually had the chance to unsheathe.

“He had some tricks up his sleeve that he didn’t use that he was planning on executing. So there were one or two things that he didn’t do that he wanted to do,” Brown revealed when speaking to MMA Fighting on Tuesday. “We won’t give them away in case he still fights Diaz again.

“Basically, [the game plan] was beat him up with kicks and fight him in the clinch, then beat him in the clinch. If it goes to the ground, be on top. Get our head free, good posture, ground and pound and kind of exactly what you saw was the game plan.”

Fighters are often their own worst critics and a coach’s job always involves putting wins and losses under the same microscope for dissection. That said, Brown couldn’t imagine the fight against Diaz playing out much better than it did because Masvidal was on top of his game from the very first minute until the last.

The end result was a third-round TKO with Masvidal up 30-26, 30-27 and 30-26 on the scorecards ahead of the doctor’s stoppage.

“That first minute was crazy. He hurt him bad with that elbow and he fell over and then [Jorge] hit him with that head kick. I can’t believe he took it,” Brown said about Diaz. “Then Jorge was landing some heavy ground and pound. It was brutal stuff. A lot of heavy shots. Nate’s got an incredible chin and like Jorge said, he’s a dog. You have to kill him to get him out of there.

“Honestly, it went a lot like we expected. We were confident. We thought [Jorge] was better in those areas. We thought it would look like that. We thought Nate would be tough as hell. We thought it would be nearly impossible to put him away and everything kind of was as we expected.”

Beyond the star power each of the fighters carried into the Octagon that night, part of the anticipation of watching Masvidal throw down with Diaz was the perception that the five-round main event was a toss up between two evenly matched opponents.

While Diaz showed incredible durability by absorbing a ton of damage, Masvidal was in control nearly every second of the fight until it was waived off at the end of the third round.

“I wasn’t surprised honestly. That’s what I expected,” Brown added. “I mean Nate landed some shots. He landed a few nice combos. Hit him with a couple left jabs, a couple good punches but honestly I expected that.

“I expected Jorge to keep him guessing. Jorge has so many weapons. Nate has some really good strengths but he’s got some holes, too, and Jorge is really good at exploiting holes. Cause I truly believe he’s got more weapons than anybody in the game. He’s got more tools that he can pull from than anybody.”

Following the decision by the doctor to stop the contest due to cuts, Masvidal quickly turned to Diaz to promise they would meet again to settle unfinished business in a rematch.

At the UFC 244 press conference later that night, UFC president Dana White quickly shot down the idea of an immediate rematch after he saw Diaz backstage and began to realize just how much punishment he endured over three rounds with Masvidal.

While another fight could still materialize, Brown wouldn’t expect a rematch to play out any differently outside of Masvidal possibly ending Diaz’s night in a more violent fashion than what happened this past Saturday night in New York.

“I think we’d see the same thing,” Brown said about a potential Masvidal vs. Diaz 2. “That was pretty damn one-sided. He won all three rounds, all three were pretty one-sided. I think that’s how it’s always going to be.

“I mean on a good day Jorge gets him out of there, and on a bad day, maybe the rounds are a little closer but [Jorge] still wins them. That’s what I see.”

If Diaz is not the next opponent, Masvidal still has plenty of options to choose from including a welterweight title shot or maybe even a showdown with Irish superstar Conor McGregor.

Brown will leave the matchmaking to the UFC, Masvidal and his management team but the former WEC champion turned head coach has a pretty good idea what the determining factor will be once it comes time to decide the next fight.

“I just know with Jorge, he only really cares about the biggest paycheck. At the end of the day, it’s whatever is going to bring the biggest money,” Brown said. “In a way, I think he told them he’ll do it again and Jorge is a man of his word. He’ll fight Diaz again. Whether it’s in a few months or in one year, they’ll fight again I’m sure. It’s just about the timing.

“Whatever is going to bring the next biggest payday. I mean Nate would be another payday or maybe Conor [McGregor] is the biggest payday. Whether it’s the [Kamaru] Usman-Colby [Covington] winner, whoever the winner might be, I think all Jorge really cares about is from the business side and what’s going to pay him the most money.”