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Nate Diaz vs. Jorge Masvidal appears set for UFC 244 at MSG

Nate Diaz attends a news conference for

 Nate Diaz attends a news conference for UFC 200, Friday, April 22, 2016, in Las Vegas.  Photo Credit: AP/John Locher

Nate Diaz put into motion a potential fight that delighted mixed martial fans, UFC President Dana White and Jorge Masvidal, the opponent Diaz named in his polite, well-reasoned callout after his bout last month.

Consider the needle moved. 

Diaz will face Masvidal in the welterweight main event at UFC 244 at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 2. ESPN first reported the booking Saturday morning, and White later posted it on social media. 

This will be the first time a UFC card at MSG is not headlined by a championship fight. The three previous cards all had title fights, but White told ESPN that he wouldn’t put a title fight over this one.

Until his win over Anthony Pettis last month, Diaz hadn’t fought in three years. Despite the layoff, he easily handled Pettis, a former lightweight champion. 

During his post-fight interview, Diaz referred to Masvidal as a “true gangster,” adding that the two of them are the last such “gangsters” in the sport. 

Masvidal is coming off one of the more explosive knockouts in UFC history. He and Ben Askren had gone back and forth with barbs. Masvidal ended the talk with a flying knee — and a few “super necessary” follow-up punches — in the first five seconds of their bout. It was the fastest knockout in UFC history. It also catapulted Masvidal into the spotlight.

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