If there’s a skirmish between Chimaev and his teammates and Team Diaz before UFC 279, the Chechen fighter said he won’t back down.
“If they wanna fight before (Saturday), f*** the money, brother,” Chimaev told ESPN. “I’m gonna fight with them. I love to fight. It’s what I love – it’s my work to fight.
“I’ve been born for war. I’m inside a warrior. [I] don’t care. When the fights come, you don’t care about money or what’s behind it – just fight. We will see what happens.”
Diaz infamously halted a press conference for his UFC 202 rematch with Conor McGregor when he and his teammates tossed cans and water bottles at the Irish star, sparking a back and forth that led to suspensions and fines (and a lawsuit against McGregor).
Diaz was also front and center for perhaps the most infamous brawl in MMA history, a melee with Jason Miller during the CBS telecast of Strikeforce: Nashville that ended the now-defunct promotion’s time on network TV.
Asked what he expects of the press conference for UFC 279, which takes place Thursday in Las Vegas, Chimaev isn’t sure.
“When he speaks, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t understand so much,” Chimaev said of Diaz. “I don’t think the guy’s talking good English. He smokes too much, and that’s why his English is a bit different. My English is not perfect, as well.”
But there are certain gestures that need no translation, and given Diaz’s rocky history with the UFC and circumstances surrounding the fight, there’s a good chance something will happen when the two answer questions for the media.
“We will see what happens,” Chimaev said. “I’m gonna have some fun and sit there, and if he wants to fight there with his team, I have like 20 guys with me. We’ll fight with all the teams, you know. I hope so. I would love if it happens, something crazy things there.”
That’s not music to UFC President Dana White’s ears, but Chimaev likes his chances if something pops off.
“His team is old, brother,” the 28-year-old welterweight star said of his opponent’s crew. “My team is fresh. We kill this. ... His team [is] almost handicapped, brother.”
Check out the full Chimaev interview below from ESPN.