The legendary Nate Diaz is likely to step into the octagon for the final time this weekend when he headlines UFC 279 against rising star Khamzat Chimaev.
It's 15 months since Diaz was last in action, losing via decision against Leon Edwards, who has since become the champion of the welterweight division.
With just one fight left on his UFC contract, Diaz has been accused by the company of rejecting several opponents, although he refutes those claims.
One thing is for certain, it's never a dull fight week when Diaz is involved and he looks set to go out with a bang in Las Vegas in the early hours of Sunday morning.
|What||Khamzat Chimaev v Nate Diaz, UFC 279|
|Where||T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas|
|When||Approx 05:00, Sunday 11th September 2022|
|How to watch||BT Sport 1 and UFC Fight Pass|
|Odds||Khamzat Chimaev 1/8, Nate Diaz 11/2|
Diaz is by no means the perfect athlete as many will know from his antics outside of the cage, however, he can proudly boast the tag of The Ultimate Fighter, having won season five to earn his contract with the UFC in 2007.
The Stockton-born star blew through the competition, earning three successive submission victories before defeating Manvel Gamburyan in the lightweight finale.
His stock continued to rise over the following year, fighting and winning four times between September 2007 and September 2008, earning the Fight of the Night bonus on three occasions and picking up a Submission of the Night bonus too.
Diaz had already started to earn a reputation for being an exciting, chaotic fighter with a seemingly endless tank and fans were on his side almost immediately.
Clay Guida was the first man to beat Diaz in the UFC, ending his four-fight win streak in 2009 and Joe Stevenson repeated that feat next time out.
But again, there was no shortage of entertainment in both contests, leading to further Fight of the Night bonuses after 15 minutes of intense action.
A return to welterweight arrived in 2010, but his form was patchy, going 2-2, and he was soon back down at lightweight as he set his sights on a UFC belt.
It proved to be a wise call and a shot at lightweight champion Benson Henderson was his after three successive victories over Takanori Gomi, Donald Cerrone and Jim Miller.
Henderson retained his belt via a one-sided unanimous decision, however, and that would be Diaz's one and only chance to win a Championship.
Diaz did get the chance to compete for the BMF title, a symbolic belt, in 2019, but the fight was called off at the end of round three when the doctor deemed he was unable to continue due to a cut above his eye.
Diaz has never been one to shy away from a challenge and it was no surprise to see him step up to the plate on just 11 days' notice to face Conor McGregor in 2016.
McGregor, riding a 15-fight winning streak, was fresh from winning the featherweight title and jumped up two divisions to make his debut at welterweight against Diaz.
Few gave Diaz a chance but, in true underdog fashion he went on to stun the Irishman courtesy of a second-round submission.
The rematch went in McGregor's favour, but the pair fought through the full five rounds and left the cage bloodied and bruised.
Since that loss to McGregor in August 2016, Diaz has only fought on three further occasions - losing two and winning one - and that adds further to the feeling that he will struggle against Chimaev in Las Vegas on Sunday.
Chimaev is 11-0, sits #3 in the welterweight rankings and looks set to be fighting for the title next time out if he avoids a slip-up against Diaz.
The Chechen-born Swede boasts four stoppages - either KO or submission - in his five UFC contests, with his most recent trip to the octagon ending in a decision win over Gilbert Burns.
"Borz" is a formidable striker and an extremely strong wrestler with many suggesting he is almost the complete fighter, with Chimaev 1/4 to win by KO, TKO, Submission or DQ.
Diaz will undoubtedly have his work cut out in trying to stop Chimaev's charge towards the Championship but, as history has told us, don't rule out the 37-year-old as he looks to depart UFC with a statement.
He's gone the distance in three of his last four fights and 15 times over his 33-fight career and, although it's unlikely this one will go five rounds, he should offer some resistance.
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