Diaz took on fellow veteran Tony Ferguson in the main event of UFC 279 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, submitting his fellow American in the fourth round in what was the final fight on Diaz’s UFC contract.
In his post-fight interview, Diaz said: “I wanna get out [of] the UFC for a minute and show all these other fighters how to own up another sport. Then I’m gonna be right back here to get a motherf*****g UFC title.”
At the post-fight press conference, UFC president White said: “He’s been here forever. It’s been a blast having him here, I wish him well.
“Me and him had this discussion months ago at the offices: Whatever he moves on to do, I wish him nothing but the best. He’s starting his own organisation or getting into promoting or doing something else. I wish him nothing but the best of luck, it’s been awesome having him here.
“No matter what Nate does from here on out, this is his house.”
Diaz had been due to face rising welterweight star Khamzat Chimaev in the UFC 279 main event, but the Russian-born Swede missed weight on Friday (9 September), causing a major shake-up to the card. Ferguson was removed from his scheduled co-main event against Li Jingliang and instead faced Diaz, while Li took on Daniel Rodriguez.
Meanwhile, Rodriguez’s original opponent Kevin Holland fought Chimaev, with whom he had engaged in a backstage fracas that saw the UFC 279 pre-fight press conference cancelled on Thursday (8 September).
Chimaev submitted Holland in the first round of a 180lbs catchweight contest, after Rodriguez outpointed Li at the same weight.
Ahead of UFC 279, it was revealed that Diaz, 37, would be launching his own fight promotion. In an Inside Fighting article that was retweeted by Diaz, it was reported that the promotion will be called Real Fight Inc and feature combatants from all over the world.
It is as yet unknown when Real Fight Inc’s first card will take place, but Inside Fighting reported that the promotion “will draw from Nate’s reputation for ‘being real’ — no cheesy, farcical matchups.
“The promotion will feature real fights with real fighters who are serious, talented and motivated to become champions. Plus, Nate will personally sign off on all of the fighters who join the promotion to make sure they all fit the brand.”
Diaz’s older brother Nick also competed in the UFC and challenged for the interim and undisputed welterweight titles in 2012 and 2013 respectively.