Forget Tupac versus Biggie Smalls. Nate Diaz just reignited the West Coast/East Coast rivalry by calling out Miami-born fighter Jorge Masvidal. Now UFC president Dana White has no choice but to give the fans what they want — a good old-fashioned East-versus-West fistfight.
If the UFC knows what's good for it, the two will get it on in the octagon by the end of the year. Do it at the Staples Center in Los Angeles or the American Airlines Arena in Miami. Hell, do it in Dubai. Just make it happen, UFC.
After Diaz disposed of Anthony "Showtime" Pettis by unanimous decision Saturday night following a three-year hiatus from the octagon, he made it clear which fighter he wants to face next: Jorge Masvidal. Masvidal has been calling for a match against Diaz for some time, so it appears Diaz is set to oblige his request. If White is smart, he'll let these two punch each other in the face. This one has Fight of the Year written all over it.
Diaz remarked in a postfight interview with Joe Rogan that he was impressed with Masvidal's last win. How could he not be? With a flying knee that ended Ben Askren in all of five seconds, Masvidal set a UFC record for the fastest knockout. But Diaz said that despite his respect for Masvidal, "he ain't no West Coast gangsta."
Well, that's factually correct. Masvidal was born in Miami and makes no bones about it: He's 305 till he dies. Masvidal burst onto the scene via YouTube videos showing the sort of backyard brawls seen in Dawg Fight, a documentary directed by Miami filmmaker Billy Corben about the mixed martial arts scene in West Perrine, a hard-knocks suburb of Southwest Miami-Dade. Since then, Masvidal has garnered a successful professional MMA record of 34 wins and 13 losses.
Masvidal's highlight-reel-worthy flying knee in his last fight, though, has put him squarely on the radar of all MMA fans worldwide and seems ready to earn him not only a title shot but also a huge payday.
If Diaz and Masvidal want to compare notes in the octagon to see who is more "gangsta," everyone will be a winner. The leadup to Diaz-Masvidal will be worth the price of admission and pay-per-view combined. Both fighters are known for their quick tongues and trash talk. It wouldn't be difficult to sell tickets for this fight.
East Coast versus West Coast. Masvidal versus Diaz. Make it happen, Dana White.
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Ryan Yousefi is a freelance writer for Miami New Times, a lover of sports, and an expert consumer of craft beer and pho. Hanley Ramirez once stole a baseball from him and to this day still owes him $10.