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Hot Tweets: Creating the inaugural rankings for Nate Diaz’s Baddest Motherf*cker Division

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Nate Diaz
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

This week, all Hell broke loose in the UFC’s welterweight division as the planned title fight between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington that was supposed to headline UFC 244 fell through, then was almost replaced by a fight between Usman and Jorge Masvidal, and then ultimately was replaced by the fight the fans really wanted the whole time, Masvidal vs. Nate Diaz. Oh, and also Khabib Nurmagomedov beat down Dustin Poirier. So let’s talk about it all.


It’s the one that says ‘Bad Motherf*cker on it’

Oh Nathan Diaz, what a gem you are. The Violence-weight title, first originated by one Edward Alvarez and now held by Mr. Khabib Nurmagomedov is the most prestigious of fake titles, but the Baddest Motherf*cker belt is rocketing up the charts. And apparently, Dana is going to actually make a BMF belt, which is kinda corny but it’s the exact kind of corny we need and it opens the floodgates. Now fighters can start making up titles and if it gets enough interest or is creative enough, those dreams can become reality. I argued vehemently that the UFC should’ve made a crown of thorns for the Most Violent Fighter title. Perhaps there is still time.

Anyway, now that this division has a belt (or will soon have one) let’s figure out who populates the top-10 of it. Realistically, this division is a Nate Diaz creation so the actual answer is “whoever the hell Nate deems to be a BMF” but I think we can make some reasonable guesses. It’s gonna be fighters who predominantly strike, who are gritty as hell, and who are flexible with their weight (missing weight doesn’t count). Also, they most obviously have to give very few f*cks. Preferably zero but certainly less than five. So given all that, I present to you, the inaugural BMF rankings:

  1. Nate Diaz - If Nick Diaz is the Vito Corleone of the BMF division, Nate is the Michael. He’s taking the organization to new heights and making it go legit - with a belt and everything.
  2. Jorge Masvidal - Nate called him out by name and he’ll be fighting for the inaugural belt. Plus, he fought in Kimbo’s backyard. I’m not sure how you get more BMF than that.
  3. Donald Cerrone - Aside from having a ranch that he’s dubbed BMF Ranch, Cerrone also most closely fits the bill for what Nate values, always down to scrap, weight flexible, will talk that sh*t and won’t back down.
  4. Conor McGregor - This will surely be controversial, as all things with Conor are, but Nate has called him out multiple times and clearly respects the hell out of Conor. He also checks all the boxes as a guy who will throw hands, give zero f*cks, and fight when, where, or at whatever the hell weight you want.
  5. Robbie Lawler - Do I really need to explain this one?

You may be noticing by now that BMF rankings have little correlation with recent win-loss records. Of course not. Nate anointed Pettis as BMF challenger and Pettis has won 4 of his last 10 fights. Wins and losses don’t mean anything in the BMF realm. How could they with Nate Diaz being the owner and champion? Anyway, cracking on:

6. Anthony Pettis - He just lost to Nate in what Nate considers the first defense of his belt (I believe). He’s gotta be up there.

7. Max Holloway - The man called out Daniel Cormier. He’s a featherweight. He also fought Dustin Poirier and signed up to fight Khabib. Also, remember that time he literally taught Brian Ortega how to defend while in the process of boxing his ears off? Just because he’s so incredibly nice doesn’t mean he’s not a real gangster.

8. Tony Ferguson - He loses points for competing solely as a lightweight, and because Nate almost certainly thinks he’s a dork, but gains many points for continuing to fight despite having earned a title shot like six fights ago.

9. Al Iaquinta - Al sat out for nearly two years because he didn’t feel like dealing with the UFC’s BS. If that’s not a Nate Diaz-like maneuver, I don’t know what is. He also fought Khabib on less than 24 hours notice. If you leave him off this list, you’re playing yourself.

10. Paul Felder - Felder gets docked points because there is only a 30% chance Nate actually knows who he is but homie f*cked around and fought Mike Perry on a whim. He’s a BMF contender, even if he probably lost to Edson Barboza on Saturday.

And of course, while this is the first official iteration of the BMF division, I believe we can all agree that Nick Diaz vs. B.J. Penn was the evolutionary forebearer of this concept and those two are hereby named Champions Emeritus.

This list will make a lot of people angry but first off, let me assure you that it is definitely correct. The order of the names may be amiss but the persons in the rankings are spot on. The BMF title is not the same as the the Violence-weight titles (Junior, Regular, and Super), it’s not just about being a fun action fighter; it’s about that, but it’s also about bouncing around weight classes and rejecting authority, specifically the UFC’s. So when you say “You left off Justin Gaethje/Mike Perry/your favorite fighter, this list is invalid” know that you are wrong. Gaethje is only a lightweight. Mike Perry clearly does give f*cks, just not inside the cage. Those guys are all-star violence-weight competitors, but they’re not Bad Motherf*ckers, at least not in the Nate Diaz sense.


Bad Motherf*cking ratings

We won’t have to wait too long to find out, but methinks extremely well. Or at least, it would have before the shift to ESPN+. I’m still not sure how bad the move to ESPN+ has hurt the PPV market but it seems like it has depressed numbers by a substantial amount. That being said, Diaz is a legitimate star and Masvidal kind of is one now as well. After the Askren knockout I had people at my office ask me about Jorge, which is not a thing that usually happens. That KO plus Diaz’s comeback and the rapid turnaround should bode well for the ratings on this one.


Self-sabotaging

Unless Colby Covington is running a galaxy-brain gimmick where he turns face because he everyone decides to hate Dana White more than him, it’s gotta be ol’ “Chaos.” This week, Cejudo “got choked out” by Valentina Shevchenko essentially ending his intergender nonsense and proving it was all just him being a dorkier Andy Kaufman. Meanwhile, Colby Covington talked himself out of a THIRD title shot. It’s truly incredible. He adopted this idiotic persona to get himself a title fight and every single time he’s had one, he shoots himself in the foot. What a hero.

To be clear, we don’t exactly know what’s going on with the Usman-Colby situation, but given what we know about the UFC, its operating procedures, and Covington, it’s pretty easy to piece together. Covington wants to get paid to headline a title fight at MSG and the UFC isn’t budging. Now Colby is refusing to accept on principle. It’s actually a very fair thing for Covington to do, but it’s just funny as hell that he keeps believing himself to be this huge star when neither the ratings, nor the way the UFC treats him would suggest that he is.

Also, to be clear, it’s completely insane that a multi-billion dollar company is nickel-and-diming a fighter to the point that they’re gonna lose out on a great and interesting fight that could in fact build a star but hey, if there’s one person who is better at cutting-off-his-nose-to-spite-his face than Colby Covington, it’s Dana White.


Speaking of self-sabotage

Well we damn near got it when the UFC tried to book Usman vs. Masvidal. If they had done that and then set up Leon Edwards vs. Nate Diaz we could all just completely delete the welterweight division from our minds. The best way is so obvious and simple it is depressing the UFC is having trouble connecting these dots. Usman fights Covington, Masvidal fights Diaz, and Tyron Woodley takes on Leon Edwards. Please don’t screw this up, UFC.


Oh yeah, Khabib did Khabib things this weekend

On Saturday, Khabib Nurmagomedov reasserted himself as the best lightweight on the planet by beating the brakes off of Dustin Poirier. To be frank, the fight was not close, and but for a brief moment in the second round when it looked like maybe, possibly, Khabib was slightly shaken, it was entirely one-way traffic for Khabib. Normally, a loss like that would make me think Poirier needed a softer touch to rebound but Khabib does that to everyone. Poirier is still, at worst, the third best lightweight on the planet so let’s see Poirier get right back on the horse and fight Donald Cerrone (when Cerrone inevitably loses to Gaethje this weekend).

As for Khabib, Tony Ferguson is the only fight to make. It’s gonna hurt so bad when Dana lowballs Tony and so instead we get the Conor rematch.


Frankie Edgar

Frankie’s been making overtures about fighting Conor and that fight actually makes some sense for both men. But let’s assume that doesn’t happen and he does drop to 135. The only fight to make is Dominick Cruz. It’s so obvious and checks all the boxes. A win for either guy sets them up for a title shot and it’s a legitimately interesting “superfight.” Plus it keeps Cruz away from fighting Cejudo which he in no way should get to do next.


Two-on-two

We can only hope so. I genuinely think tag-team MMA or paired fights is a legitimately interesting viewing experience and could have legs if you could figure out some of the details. It would never be as popular as single-combat just like doubles tennis doesn’t crush the ratings, but I think it could be a fun way to add some diversity into the mix. Maybe do it as a Legends thing where only aging veterans get to pair up and fight? I’m not sure, but there’s a way to do it and I’d watch the hell out of it.


Cris Cyborg heading to Bellator

Wow, it was such a busy week that Cris Cyborg officially signing with Bellator MMA is almost an afterthought. But it shouldn’t be because Cyborg signing with Bellator sets up one of the best fights in WMMA currently. I rate it top five at the moment. Here’s my list:

  1. Zhang Weili - Rose Namajunas
  2. Zhang Weili - Joanna Jedrejczyk
  3. Julia Budd - Cris Cyborg
  4. Xiong Jingnan - Michelle Nicolini (if y’all don’t know, this gonna be a banger)
  5. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane - Ayaka Hamasaki (this would require some more Rizin-Bellator cross promotion but feels very possible).

WMMA is in a weird spot right now where there are two unbeatable champions in the UFC but the idea of them fighting each other isn’t all that appealing since Valentina Shevchenko and Amanda Nunes have already fought twice. So the best possible fights are all kinda restricted to the strawweight division. Fortunately, strawweight is an absolutely awesome division that no one could hate. It would take a real square to hate on one of the best and deepest divisions in the sport. Glad we don’t have any of those in MMA, especially not ones who inexplicably have a major platform upon which they discuss MMA because it would be very disheartening if someone like that went around trashing the best division in WMMA because they wanted to look cool...


Thanks for reading this week and thank you for everyone who sent in Tweets! Do you have any burning questions about at least tacitly related to combat sports? Then you’re in luck because you can send your Hot Tweets to me, @JedKMeshew and I will answer them! Doesn’t matter if they’re topical or insane. Get weird with it. Let’s have fun.