Nate Diaz came out victorious in his final UFC fight against Tony Ferguson at UFC 279. The 37-year-old got the job done in round four, coincidentally with 2:09 left on the clock.
During a backstage conversation with ESPN’s Megan Olivi after the fight, Diaz admitted feeling pressure from the sudden opponent change. And according to him, it’s because of a “new mission” he’d begun to take on at this stage of his career.
“All of them,” said Diaz when asked about the challenges he faced against Ferguson. “Because he’s been around and he had the advantage of not having the pressure. He had the pressure off of him that he didn’t have to win. He wasn’t ready for a five-round fight.
“And then I had the pressure on that this is the motherf—ng… My main goal, especially with Khamzat, was to come out and not get any more cuts on my face. I’m done with that. I don’t want to be cut anymore, and it’s a new mission that I’ve never had before in the past.
“And then, they switch it to this guy who’s most likely in the UFC to cut you. I had that pressure on me.”
The two fighters had shown nothing but respect towards each other through the build-up. Diaz continued to give props to his opponent during the post-fight presser.
“He’s been around a long time and fighting a lot of people, putting on a lot of good performances. Putting on a lot of f—ng crazy fights, took a lot of damage,” Diaz said of Ferguson.
“He put on enough wars, he can do whatever the f—k he wants. It’s respect, and I like anybody who could have a career that long. Especially in the UFC with the toughest fighters in the world, that’s the hardest job in the world. That guy should be a hundred millionaire.”
Diaz (now 21-13) also took home a $50K bonus for Performance of the Night.