The road to UFC 244 has not been without bumps, but having made it into fight week with the highly-anticipated main event intact, we are seemingly just days away from seeing Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal duke it out to decide whom is “The Baddest Motherfuc*er in the Game.”
The fight itself, and the respective paths its principals took en route to the historic Madison Square Garden arena, lend themselves to grandiloquent prose.
Diaz, the cannabis-smoking, sound-bite-producing West Coast mutineer who spent years toiling on absurdly low remuneration in the shadow of his older brother Nick, only to emerge as one of the sport’s biggest starts after lamping promotional golden boy Conor McGregor on 11 days’ notice back at UFC 196. A historic rematch, followed by a prolonged hiatus, culminating in a triumphant and dominant return over former lightweight champion and nemesis Anthony Pettis, has Diaz back where he always should have been: in the spotlight and at the top of the marquee, sharing his aphorisms on the fight game all the while casually transforming it. A late brush with the United States Anti-Doping Agency over a “vegan, plant-based daily multivitamin,” which led to his fast-tracked exoneration in a potentially precedent-setting win for athletes’ rights, has served to underscore what fight fans have known for years but the UFC is only just now admitting: Diaz moves the freakin’ needle, and in more ways than one.
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