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Dana White responds to Nate Diaz turning down Khamzat Chimaev, ‘rookie’ comments

Dana White
Dana White
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Nate Diaz made his position clear when he revealed that he turned down a matchup against Khamzat Chimaev because of the unbeaten welterweight’s lack of UFC experience.

And that’s just fine with Dana White — even if the UFC president isn’t putting much stock into the logic Diaz used to explain why the Chimaev fight is beneath him.

“Listen, everybody in this business, everybody in this company, is here because they belong here,” White told TMZ. “There are no real rookies, per se, here.

“There are guys with more experience and some guys with some less experience. Khamzat Chimaev is one of those guys that’s willing to fight anybody. In multiple weight classes. On short notice. He’s doing wrestling matches. If it’s a fight, he’s in and he wants to fight you. And that’s the reality. People can spin Khamzat however they want to — and I don’t blame them.”

Diaz called Chimaev a “rookie” when speaking with TMZ and explained that he turned down the bout because he was shooting for a bigger target than an up-and-comer who owns just four UFC wins. With one fight left on his UFC deal, Diaz said he was eyeing a top-5 ranked fighter for the final bout of his contract and suggested that Chimaev continue to work his way up the ladder by fighting “new people,” such as Diaz’s teammate Nick Maximov.

Chimaev is currently the No. 11 ranked welterweight on MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings, however the unbeaten Chechen has already developed a large fan following after tearing through his first four UFC bouts with a savagery rarely seen in the octagon. Thus far, Chimaev has outstruck his opposition 254-2 in total strikes and 112-1 in significant strikes while cruising to lopsided wins over the likes of Gerald Meerschaert and Li Jingliang.

The 27-year-old welterweight even recently shut out UFC middleweight contender Jack Hermansson in an exhibition wrestling match, and has since resumed calling out seemingly every notable name in the sport, both past and present.

So regardless of the reasoning, White can’t fault Diaz for not jumping at the matchup.

“Listen man, Khamzat is a straight murderer,” White said. “He’s a killer. He’s an absolute savage. And I don’t blame anybody for not wanting to fight Khamzat Chimaev.”