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While there has been a lot of chatter about Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz, the latest signs are pointing to Tony Ferguson for the UFC lightweight champion’s first title defense.

Diaz’s name has been bandied about, but UFC president Dana White recently said that, despite all the chatter, UFC execs haven’t really talked about making McGregor vs. Diaz 3, just yet. To the contrary, following Ferguson’s interim lightweight championship victory over Kevin Lee at UFC 216 recently, White said that it was a no-brainer that Ferguson should be next for McGregor.

Though McGregor is well known to fight anyone, even on short notice – that’s how the whole saga with Diaz began – he has also built his clout to a level that he has a large say in what’s next for him. If you don’t think so, just refer back to how he built up a multi-million dollar spectacle of a fight with Floyd Mayweather and made it happen. 

Conor McGregor with belt over Tony FergusonBut it appears that all parties may be turning to the same page for McGregor’s next fight. 

Tony Ferguson wants the fight. Dana White wants the fight. And it now appears that Conor McGregor may want the fight as well. 

A large part of securing fights over the pas couple of years has focused more and more heavily on the attention drawn by social media beefs. And if social media is any indicator, it’s looking increasingly likely that McGregor and Ferguson will soon be stepping in the Octagon.

Ferguson fired a shot across the bow earlier in the week by retweeting an animated “training camp video” for a McGregor fight, that seemed to indicate that White was protecting his biggest draw from “El Cucuy.”

That elicited a response from the UFC lightweight champion, with McGregor channeling his inner Scarface.

Then, on Saturday, Ferguson countered with a bit of a borrow from the Grand Theft Auto video game series. 

All of this could of course merely be internet chatter, but with more and more credibility given to the audience a social media beef draws, it isn’t all that much of a stretch to think that everything is building toward McGregor vs. Ferguson.

The UFC has one significant event left in 2017 that doesn’t yet have a marquee headliner. And with most of the promotion’s other champions booked, sidelined, or otherwise indisposed, it wouldn’t be surprising if Dana White and Company are trying to lock McGregor down for his first lightweight title defense at UFC 219 on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas.

As McGregor and Ferguson’s banter reaches a fever pitch, keep your eyes and ears open for the possibility of one more big sendoff for 2017.

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