Khamzat Chimaev’s missed weight has forced UFC to shuffle its 279 main event with Tony Ferguson set to replace Chimaev against Nate Diaz.
Chimaev missed weight by a whopping 7.5 pounds coming in at 178.5 pounds for a 171-pound-limit bout with Diaz choosing not to fight an overweight opponent. His missed weight cut caused a chain reaction which resulted in the whole card being shuffled so close to the fight.
Diaz will now take on Ferguson who weighed in at 170.5 pounds as he was supposed to take on Li Jingliang in the co-main event. Tony Ferguson vs Nate Diaz will be a five-round fight although he was supposed to go three rounds with Li but still agreed to amended rules.
“Nate Diaz and Tony, the fans have wanted to see this one forever,” White said. “It’s going to happen now before Nate leaves the UFC. It couldn’t have played out any better.”
Meanwhile, Chimaev will now take on Kevin Holland who was supposed to be fighting Daniel Rodriguez at 180 pounds limit. Li will now face Rodrigez despite a large weight gap.
Despite the unprecedented nature of the shuffle, it all seems to have worked out for the UFC in the end. Chimaev was a massive favourite going against Diaz and winning against a retiring fighter may not have had the same impact as he would think. Ferguson is a fan favourite and is coming off a devastating loss and a win would do his confidence some good.
Holland and Chimaev had a physical altercation before the press conference for the event and can now settle their dispute in the octagon.