The combat sports world is filled to the brink with unique characters and diverse personalities, so followers are used to opposites attracting.
However, when videos surfaced of UFC fighter Nick Diaz giving heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury some MMA training pointers Friday, the video still had many fans doing a double take.
Diaz, who is preparing for his UFC comeback, and Fury, who is a few months away from his highly anticipated matchup against Anthony Joshua in August, crossed paths at Warriors Boxing Gym in Hollywood, Fla.
After Diaz showed Fury the ropes, teaching him clinch attacks and finishing strike sequences, the heavyweight boxing superstar sent a message to UFC president Dana White when he endorsed Diaz’s comeback.
“We’re working out,” Fury yelled. “We’re coming for all you motherf*ckers out there. You’re getting smashed to f*ck. You better believe it. (Nick is) absolutely smashing it. He’s in tremendous shape. He’s ready. Make the fight, Dana. Make the fight.”
OK, so there are two things to unpack here.
The first is Diaz, by all accounts except a lukewarm Dana White, who seems to be on a legitimate comeback trail. Over the past few years, I had my concerns about Diaz as he constantly posted videos of himself drunkenly partying at seemingly all hours of the day and night. However, he seems to have really turned his life and career around. If he’s in, I’m in.
As for Fury, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen him express interest in learning MMA technique. In 2019, he trained with UFC middleweight Darren Till in the U.K., with the images and videos going viral.
Fury is one of the few boxers who has consistently hinted he’d be willing to cross over into MMA. His earliest injection into the MMA conversation was in 2013 when he called out then-UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez. This year, Fury has taken another dig at the UFC titleholder when he called Francis Ngannou “easy work.”
While I’m not sure it would make sense for him financially to leave a blockbuster boxing purse for a fraction of the earnings in MMA, I’d sure as hell be here to watch it – and with him continuing to intermingle with MMA’s biggest names, maybe there’s something to the whole “he’s in this for more than the money” cliche!
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