Gilbert Melendez glad to see Nate Diaz exit on a win: UFC tries ‘to send people out in body bags’

·3 min read

Gilbert Melendez is still in awe about how Nate Diaz’s exit from the UFC played out.

The former Strikeforce champion and teammate is happy to see Diaz walkout and finish out his contract with the UFC on a high note – something that’s hard to do for many stars and former champions.

The 37-year-old Diaz, who was on a 1-3 run entering his final fight on his UFC contract, was given unbeaten 28-year-old UFC welterweight contender Khamzat Chimaev in the main event on last Saturday’s UFC 279 in Las Vegas. It was a difficult matchup and a fight that Diaz didn’t want.

However, a day before the event, Chimaev missed weight by 7.5 pounds and UFC shuffled to give Diaz fellow veteran Tony Ferguson as a replacement opponent. Diaz ended up winning the fight by fourth-round submission.

“It is crazy, and I don’t know if the UFC has ill intent or they’re just hardcore business, they’re like, kill the competition,” Melendez told Submission Radio. “No matter how good you are or what you’ve done for the company, they want to make sure you get sent out – and no disrespect to everybody – but they want to try to send people out in body bags, so they don’t have a career ahead of him, you know?

“But Nate was up for the challenge and it didn’t matter the opponent. Nate was going to come and deliver and it was great seeing him get a victory in such a great fashion. And even to see the respect that Dana gave him and the respect that Nate gave the UFC after that win, someone in that position could’ve really dug it into the UFC or played it differently. Just everything that worked out, it was amazing.”

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Chimaev, who ended up fighting and beating Kevin Holland in the co-main event of UFC 279, missed a big opportunity, as he was supposed to headline his first UFC event and against one of the sports’ biggest names.

Melendez, who’s seen plenty in his decades of being in the sport, was shocked to see Chimaev not make weight for what could’ve been easily the biggest fight of his career.

“Of course we were surprised,” Melendez said. “We couldn’t believe it. We couldn’t believe that he missed the weight. What an opportunity this man missed to fight Nate Diaz, the biggest draw in MMA right now.

“And when he stepped onto the scale not even sucked up, not even trying or stumbling onto the scale. Every fighter knows you have to give it your best. If you walk to that scale you have to try, running with your sweatsuit on if you’re over, and jumping on and running some more. But this guy stepped on the scale, eight pounds over, and looked fresh as hell. He looked like he just had a steak dinner, and then he smirks and laughs at it. …  A lot of respect lost for him in that aspect.”

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie