Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal battled it out for the unprecedented “Baddest Motherf*****” belt this weekend.
Masvidal was winning each round by most accounts, but the unrestrained attack of Diaz proved why he is still one of the best in the business.
After the doctor inspected a cut above Diaz’ eye at the end of round three, the fight was stopped and Masvidal ultimately claimed the ‘BMF’ title.
The fight was expected to go five rounds, and the disappointing finish left Diaz feeling like he has unfinished business.
So, who is next to enter the Octagon boardroom for a meeting with The Stockton Slapper?
SunSport has rounded up the top options for his next bout.
Grappling is one of the fundamentals of MMA and UFC veteran Demian Maia has it down to a fine art.
Just like Diaz, Demian Maia has never claimed the championship title but is still one of the most respected fighters in the welterweight division.
The 41-year old made his UFC debut in 2007 and has battled some serious competition during those 12 years.
UFC legends Chael Sonnen, Anderson Silva and current welterweight champion Kamaru Usman have all faced the grappling wrath of the Brazilian welterweight.
Because of his jiu-jitsu expertise, the submission artist isn’t afraid of being taken down, so will deliver reckless punches that unnerve even the most composed fighters.
Maia’s most recent challenge came in the shape of Olympic wrestler, Ben Askren.
The pair got into a ground fight and Maia stuck to what he knows best, submitting his opponent with a rear-naked choke in the third round.
Before the ‘BMF’ belt came into existence, Maia also defeated Masvidal in 2017 with a close-call decision victory.
On the other side of the coin, Diaz is an accomplished grappler in his own right.
He has a jiu-jitsu black belt and trains with part of the Gracie family (who are Brazillian jiu-jitsu royalty).
The ‘West Coast Gangster’ is as dangerous off his back as he is on his feet and just like Maia, he loves a wild punch-out.
The ‘BMF’ firecracker could certainly give Maia a run for his money
RAFAEL DOS ANJOS
Rafael Dos Anjos is another veteran of the sport who has defeated top-tier competition.
However, his fight record over recent years has been peppered with losses.
The Brazilian delivered valiant performances against Colby Covington, Kamaru Usman,and Leon Edwards, but ultimately lost all fights by unanimous decision.
Just like Nate, his losses were disappointing but have nevertheless highlighted the resilience and skillset of the world-class fighter.
Unlike Diaz, ‘RDA’ is a former lightweight champion and needs to regain momentum against a respected opponent.
In fact, the opponents have faced off before.
In 2014 at UFC Phoenix, Dos Anjos knocked Diaz around from pillar to post, solidifying his reputation as an MMA veteran.
Since then, Diaz’s fighting has come on leaps and bounds.
He has rectified holes in his game, including his vulnerability to receiving leg kicks which the Brazillian capitalized off in their fight.
The 34-year old’s fighting evolution, endless endurance and boxing skillset could prove dangerous for ‘RDA’ a second time around.
Stephen Thompson fought on the same UFC 244 card as Diaz last weekend, but a future match-up between the pair could be an option.
The welterweight reigned supreme against Vincente Luque at UFC 244, clipping him with a flurry of strikes and ending his opponent’s 6 fight win streak.
His show-stopping performance allowed ‘Wonderboy’ to redeem himself from his last fight – which was a KO loss against Anthony Pettis.
It also proved the 36-year old is on top form and is a tough match for any ranked welterweight.
This is because Thompson has a unique fighting style underpinned by his kickboxing experience and karate stance.
He utilises lateral movement to dip in and out again, landing a shot and then quickly moving out of the range of danger.
As Vincente Luque highlighted in their matc-hup, the only way to edge past Thompsons’ elusiveness is to power through with punches (and eat a strike or two in the process).
Like Luque, Nate isn’t afraid to take a good hit.
He rallies around his opponents and uses constant movement to close the distance and land a sucker punch, which could pose a problem for ‘Wonderboy’.
The potential match-up wouldn’t be Thompson’s first rodeo against a ‘BMF’ contender.
He previously fought and defeated ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal in 2017.
During an interview, Wonderboy joked about the ‘BMF’ belt and said he wants to fight featherweight champion, Max Holloway for the UFC’s “nicest mother***er belt”.
He said: “You know what, to be able to face Max for the nicest ‘MF’ belt would be epic. I would gladly hold the door open for him.”
It’s hard to deny that Thompson is an upstanding guy, but the ‘NMF’ belt doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.
With a name like ‘Wonderboy,’ stemming from the comic book superhero, who better to face than self-proclaimed ‘bad guy’, Nate Diaz.
It is no surprise that the number one option on most fan’s radar is BMF winner, Masvidal.
The East Coast Goon delivered a dominant performance throughout three-rounds during their UFC 244 match-up.
However, the doctor’s stoppage at the end of the third round was an anti-climax, leaving viewers hungry for more.
Predominantly known for his endurance and top-notch cardio, Diaz was planning on delivering his best work in the fourth and fifth round.
During a post-fight press conference, The Stockton Slapper revealed that an immediate rematch is the only fight he wants.
Diaz said: “My plan is to tell ‘em all, ‘F*ck you,’ and then we can hopefully we get along soon, and let’s get back at it.
“That’s my plan. You’ve got me kill me in there. I made this whole s**t happen, and I would like for it to happen again. Yeah, f**k you, with all due respect.”
UFC chief Dana White shut down any rematch speculation.
He has said that the BMF bout was a one-off and has no interest in running it back any time soon.
Diaz will need to compromise on an opponent or exercise his powers of persuasion with the UFC boss.
Despite announcing retirement earlier this year, Conor McGregor revealed his Octagon return is 18 January 2020.
The 31-year old is rumoured to be facing Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, but Dana White clarified that nothing has been finalised.
He said: “Conor came out and said that. People then said, ‘Is this true?’ And I said, ‘He wants to fight that date.’ But we literally haven’t done [anything].
“Nobody has called Cerrone. Cerrone actually text me yesterday and said, ‘I hope all this talk is true.’ So there is literally nothing done. Zero.”
Now, the Irishman’s next opponent is anyone’s guess and he is already eyeing up a Nate Diaz vs Conor McGregor trilogy fight.
They pushed each other to their limits in their two previous battles.
The long-standing rivals first collided in the main event of UFC 196 in 2016.
A bloody brawl ensued as both fighters landed significant strikes, but Notorious was ultimately submitted by Diaz towards the end of round two.
Their rematch four months later didn’t disappoint as the pair delivered a show-stopping war that had fans on the edge of their seats.
Diaz starched McGregor with some killer shots, but the overall accuracy and striking efficiency of McGregor secured him a decision victory.
However, many viewers (including Jorge Masvidal) disagreed with the final ruling and felt Diaz delivered the stronger performance.
A third and final bout gives McGregor the opportunity to shut down any scepticism and determine the better fighter, once and for all.
Masvidal has also claimed he will “f*** up” McGregor after his win over Diaz.