Immediately after Conor McGregor’s 10th-round TKO loss to Floyd Mayweather in “The Money Fight” in August, speculation began as to what would be next for the Irishman.
And most signs pointed to a rubber fight trilogy rematch between McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) and Nate Diaz (19-11 MMA, 14-9 UFC) – who hasn’t fought in more than a year, since his majority decision loss to McGregor in the UFC 202 main event. (Diaz tapped McGregor at UFC 196 in March 2016 in their first welterweight fight.)
Rumors recently started cropping up again that McGregor and Diaz had been scheduled for their third fight as the UFC 219 main event on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas. The Sunday World in Ireland recently reported the fight was all but a done deal.
But UFC President Dana White shut that down Sunday night – for now, at least. White replied to a tweet saying the fight was happening by saying it was “Not true AT ALL” (the caps are from White).
UFC 219 takes place Dec. 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card will air on pay-per-view following prelims expected for FS1 and UFC Fight Pass. No fights have been announced for the card yet, but as would be typical of a year-end UFC pay-per-view, the main event is likely to be a big one. Naturally, a McGregor-Diaz rubber match would fit that bill.
McGregor has just one fight in 2017 – and it was his boxing match against Mayweather. He won the UFC’s lightweight title in November 2016 in New York when he took out Eddie Alvarez with a second-round TKO to become the first concurrent two-division champ in UFC history. But two weeks later, the UFC stripped his featherweight belt, leaving him to focus his attention on 155 pounds.
But he has yet to defend that lightweight title, and next month an interim belt will be up for grabs in the division when Tony Ferguson fights Kevin Lee at UFC 216. The winner is expected to stay in line to fight McGregor to unify the titles – but that’s a fight that would be on hold if McGregor fights Diaz at welterweight, instead.
McGregor has received much criticism for winning UFC titles, but never defending them. He knocked out Jose Aldo in 13 seconds at UFC 194 in December 2015 to win the featherweight belt. But rather than defending that title, he met Diaz at welterweight, instead, at UFC 196. Then he fought him in the UFC 202 rematch. Then he went to lightweight for the Alvarez fight. Then he took time off while his longtime girlfriend had their baby ahead of the Mayweather blockbuster.
A third fight with Diaz, unless it’s for his lightweight title and not at welterweight like the first two, again would mean another fight without him putting his belt on the line.
For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.view original article >>