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Nate Diaz declares plans to leave UFC after submitting Tony Ferguson with guillotine choke in UFC 279 main event

UFC 279: Diaz v Ferguson Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Nate Diaz capped off a wild week in Las Vegas by completing the final fight on his UFC contract in spectacular fashion after submitting Tony Ferguson with a fourth-round guillotine choke in the UFC 279 main event.

After Khamzat Chimaev failed to make weight, Diaz had to shift his attention towards Ferguson at the last minute but he didn’t skip a beat as he showcased his signature toughness and relentless pace in a grueling battle between a pair of legitimate legends. It was after Diaz stung Ferguson with a series of punches that he fended off a takedown attempt by locking on a guillotine choke that helped him secured the victory with the end of the fight coming at 2:52 in the fourth round.

Following the victory, Diaz confirmed plans to leave the UFC after spending the past 15 years with the promotion, although he also added that he wanted to eventually come back after he handled some business outside the octagon.

“All I know it’s been a love-hate relationship with me and the UFC the whole time I’ve been in this organization but at the end of the day, I love the UFC,” Diaz said. “Shout out to Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta and Hunter Campbell for giving me the opportunities and the platform for the whole time, for everybody and for myself.

“I want to get out of the UFC for a minute and show all these UFC fighters how to take over and own up another sport how you’re supposed to do it. Cause Conor McGregor didn’t know how to do it. None of these other fighters know how to do it. So I’m going to go out there and I’m going take over another profession and become the best at that. Show everybody I’m the best at that and then I’m going to be right the f*** back here to get a motherf****** UFC title. The best title in the world.”

After it appeared so much animosity had built up between Diaz and the UFC in recent months, the Stockton, Calif. native didn’t seem to hold any ill will towards the organization, although it’s much nicer to hit free agency now off a win after his performance against Ferguson.

While he did secure the submission in the fourth round, Diaz didn’t get an easy victory as Ferguson gave him everything he could handle right up to the conclusion.

It was Ferguson who actually attempted to get off to a fast start, perhaps looking for a quicker pace after he initially prepared for a three-round fight prior to the late change in the main event. Diaz took a little longer to settle into a rhythm but he eventually started finding a home for his punches on the feet.

As time ticked away in the opening round, Diaz snapped off another rapid-fire series of punches that clipped Ferguson on the jaw as the Las Vegas crowd came alive with a roaring series of cheers.

Ferguson looked to change the momentum by mixing together his boxing with a few kicks from unorthodox angles to keep Diaz guessing. Diaz fired back with his signature straight punches with at least one slipping through Ferguson’s defense and opening a cut over his right eye.

As the blood began flowing, Diaz looked to take advantage by launching a straight left followed by a hard right hand behind it that really started catching Ferguson off guard.

In return, Ferguson started targeting the lead leg with a series of brutal kicks that really began mounting damage on Diaz, who was noticeably limping around the cage. Diaz essentially took a timeout in a strange moment as he just stood against the cage while refusing to engage until he finally marched back to the center of the cage.

Once they started trading strikes again, Diaz was pumping his jab in Ferguson’s face while doing his best to avoid eating any more of the leg kicks.

Midway through the fourth round, Diaz finally connected with his best punch of the fight with he snapped off a hard left hand that staggered Ferguson momentarily. Realizing his opponent was hurt, Diaz surged forward with several more shots in succession as Ferguson was forced to look for a takedown to try and avoid more punishment.

That’s when Diaz quickly grabbed onto the guillotine choke and settled into the submission off his back as Ferguson was forced to tap out once he realized there was no escape. Diaz paid tribute to Ferguson following the fight while taking a shot at Chimaev, who came in severely overweight on Friday.

“I was like this is such a b**** ass rookie,” Diaz said. “I ain’t worried about no b**** ass rookie. I had one fight left, I told them after not letting me have fights forever, I was like give me anybody you got. At least I got a worthy O.G. representative of mixed martial arts to do it on.”

While it appeared Diaz was referencing boxing as the sport he planned to conquer in his post-fight interview, he later clarified that he would gladly take offers from any number of combat sports as long as it offered him a challenge.

As for Ferguson, the UFC 279 main event dropped him to 0-5 in his past five fights, although he didn’t seem disappointed with his performance, only the result.

“This s*** was wild,” Ferguson said. “It was an honor to come in here and fight for you fans. No bulls***, that was fun. Absolutely two legends in the sport. A super fight is what you guys wanted, that’s what you guys got. You got four rounds of f****** carnage. I’m f****** back. I’ve got to fix some mistakes and I love my crew.”

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