UFC President Dana White went live with Sportscenter to confirm the changes to UFC 279. Nate Diaz vs. Tony Ferguson is the main event, while Kevin Holland vs. Khamzat Chimaev is a 5-round catchweight co-main event. Daniel "D-Rod" Rodriguez will now fight Li Jingliang at welterweight on the main card.
Multiple sources from multiple camps confirm the fight is set - done deal. Nate Diaz will now be fighting Tony Ferguson in the main event of UFC 279.
Previous reports of Nate Diaz vs. Tony Ferguson being close are now confirmed via multiple sources. Diaz will be facing "El Cucuy" in the main event of UFC 279, with Khamzat Chimaev vs. Kevin Holland in the works.
It’s not a done deal yet, but we’re told it’s very close. As we previously reported, Nate’s original opponent, Khamzat Chimaev, missed weight by a country mile this morning, putting the main event of UFC 279 in jeopardy.
It appears Nate wasn’t interested in a catchweight bout with Khamzat, and now it seems he’s turning his focus on Tony Ferguson, who was already on the card, scheduled to face Li Jingliang.
Ferguson sung Nate’s praises earlier this week, being one of the names Nate Diaz mentioned in a Brett Okamoto interview. Diaz stated he asked for other fights, including Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler, and Ferguson, but the UFC only offered him Chimaev. With Khamzat now unable to make weight, the stars have potentially aligned for a banger between two fan-favorites. Tony Ferguson vs. Nate Diaz is an OG fan’s ideal fight: two stand-and-bang guys with legendary chins and amazing BJJ.
Instead of the young undefeated prospect seeking to build a name off Diaz’s back, it will potentially be a showdown of 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu vs. Cesar Gracie’s star pupil. This may not be the main event the UFC was planning - but El Cucuy vs. the pride of Stockton would be an amazing fight between two icons of the sport.
As for Khamzat Chimaev, he is now in talks with Kevin Holland for a catchweight bout. The two have been on a collision course, with an alleged altercation backstage at the UFC 279 press conference that lead to the presser being cancelled. Holland posted a story to his Instagram saying he'd only accept the fight if it was a 5-round main event.
Per Aaron Bronsteter, the negotiations are ongoing.
That left Li Jingliang, Ferguson's scheduled opponent, and Daniel "DRod" Rodriguez, Kevin Holland's scheduled opponent, without a fight. Per Aaaron Bronsteter, Rodriguez was offered - and accepted - the bout with Jingliang. They are waiting for a response from Jingliang's team.