UFC president Dana White told ESPN that a welterweight bout between Diaz and Masvidal will headline UFC 244, which is set to take place at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Nov. 2. A new championship, the “‘BMF’ belt” will be on the line.
Masvidal’s manager Malki Kawa confirmed the news on Twitter, and both fighters had mentioned the fight earlier:
This report comes on the heels of a public exchange of comments over social media involving Diaz and Masvidal, that also included UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and top contenders Colby Covington and Leon Edwards. Earlier this week, ESPN reported that while the initial plan was to feature Usman defending his title against Covington in the UFC 244 main event, the two sides could not come to an agreement on the bout terms.
Rumbles of a possible Diaz-Masvidal matchup emerged immediately after Diaz returned from a three-year hiatus and defeated Anthony Pettis at UFC 241 in August. Post-fight, he called for a fight with Masvidal who was in attendance at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
Masvidal, for his part, has never been hotter. The 16-year veteran is coming off of back-to-back knockouts of Ben Askren and Darren Till. Masvidal’s win over Askren elevated his popularity to a new level as he KO’d Askren with a flying knee just five seconds into their fight at UFC 239, putting an abrupt end to what had been a heated feud.
Now, White and the UFC matchmakers have made the Diaz-Masvidal pairing a reality.
“It is the fight fans wanted to see,” White told ESPN. “Nate Diaz called out Masvidal after his win over Pettis. Everybody has been talking about it. People have been hitting me up on social media, telling me too get it done. I can now announce the fight is done.”
“I’m going to put together a belt for these two, they can fight for the ‘BMF’ belt,” White continued. “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. So we made it a pay-per-view. I will end up stacking this card with killer fights. The main event will be those two.”
As for the long-discussed Usman-Covington fight, White said that the negotiations “completely fell apart.” A new potential date for that matchup has yet to be announced.