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Jorge Masvidal is relieved his fight with Nate Diaz at UFC 244 still is on

Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz participated in an open workout at Hulu Theater on Wednesday, Oct. 20, ahead of their welterweight main event at UFC 244 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. Credit: Newsday / Ryan Gerbosi

Jorge Masvidal admits he experienced a bit of anxiety when the fate of his UFC 244 main event was up in the air last week following a tweet by his opponent, Nate Diaz.

Just over a week out from the fight, Diaz tweeted last Thursday he wouldn’t be coming to Madison Square Garden for Saturday’s event after he was flagged by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for a potential violation, but by Saturday afternoon, Diaz was cleared of any wrongdoing by USADA and the UFC.

In that time, Masvidal didn’t handle the potential disappointment as well as he would have liked.

“Day 1, I was like, it’s going to happen, there’s some type of weirdness going on. Then I thought maybe they screwed up somebody’s lab test, maybe this guy had too much CBD, I don’t know, I started thinking they might pull the fight, the athletic commission,” Masvidal said. “Then the anxiety hit, I had about two large pizzas, Hot Fries, soda . . . the cavalry came over, took credit cards away, restrained me, and I’m good though, I’m good on weight and ready to go.”

Masvidal and Diaz are on track to meet Saturday to determine the “baddest” fighter in the game with the winner receiving a special belt designed for the occasion to be presented by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. President Donald Trump also is expected to attend the event. The welterweights appeared at what was supposed to be an open workout Wednesday, but none of the fighters performed for the fans, choosing to answer questions instead.

Diaz, who said he isn’t too concerned with the physical belt the UFC had made, said the fight with Masvidal was the only one that made sense for him.

“If I was a fan of the sport, I would want to see me vs. Masvidal or Masvidal vs. my brother [Nick Diaz] because everybody else is weak, whack. I mean there’s some great fighters out there and lot of good attitude and personalities and all that. But as far as just straight-up fighting, what we all tuned in for initially anyway is for a fight or war. I figure if anyone were paying close enough attention, the best fight you could imagine would be me and him or him and my brother.”

Masvidal may have succumbed to a few vices while worried about the fight’s status, he said he never believed Diaz would use performance enhancers.

“I have a clinical eye for this sport, this is all I’ve done my whole life. I know what a cheater looks like,” Masvidal said. “From a physical standpoint, from a performance standpoint, I’ve never thought he was on juice his whole career.

With the USADA issue behind them, both fighters are hoping to leave a mark on their legacy with the bout.

“A chess player wouldn’t want to play chess with someone like me because I’m a novice," Masvidal said. "They want to challenge themselves and play the best player of all time. It’s the same thing. I want to fight the greatest guys of my generation and hurt them.”

New York Sports