Rumors are UFC is looking to make the trilogy fight happen this December…
In the lead-up to his money-fight with Floyd Mayweather, Conor McGregor and Dana White each claimed that Conor would fight again before the end of 2017. Few took the comments seriously, as many assumed Conor would be taking a long sabbatical after earning such a large pay cheque from one fight.
According to recent rumors, however, the current plan is to put Conor and Nate in the octagon together for a third time this December.
UFC always likes to close out the year with a big show. In 2016 it was Amanda Nunes vs. Ronda Rousey at UFC 207. This year it looks as though it will be Conor and Nate’s turn to headline the big end-of-year event.
Why Is Nate Diaz Next?
Late last year Dana White stated explicitly that he did not want to see another fight between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz.
“There’s only so many of those wars you can be in in your career. It takes a lot out of you. Some guys go into wars like that and they’re never the same after it. Look at Meldrick Taylor when he fought Julio Cesar Chavez. He was never the same after that fight. We’ve had those type of fights too. I believe that Rory MacDonald was never the same after the Robbie Lawler fight. That fight ruined him. I don’t want to do that to someone special like Conor McGregor. It’s just not right.”
It seems that in the 8 months that have passed since Dana made those comments something has changed. Perhaps it was Conor himself who was pushing for this fight to take place.
News that Nate vs. Conor III is next will come as a bit of a disappointment for those who were hoping to see Conor vs. Khabib in Russia, however.
Chael Sonnen: Inside Sources Stating Conor vs. Nate III in December
“There is some talk that I believe is true. That Conor McGregor is going to be fighting Nate Diaz at the end of the year.” – Chael Sonnen
After casually mentioning that arguably the second biggest combat sports event of the year will be happening, Sonnen continues to speculate as to what this fight will mean.
Listen to Sonnen’s full comments in the video below:
In his post-fight speech after defeating Nate Diaz at UFC 202, Conor challenged Nate to have the trilogy bout at 155lbs. As Conor is the lightweight champion, that would make this trilogy bout a title fight.
Clogged UFC Lightweight Division
One thing Chael points out is that if Nate vs. Conor for the lightweight title happens later this year, it puts the division in a weird predicament. An interim lightweight title fight is set to take place between Kevin Lee and Tony Ferguson on October 7th. Seemingly the winner of Conor/Nate III would take on the winner of Lee/Ferguson sometime in 2018.
Another point to consider is Nate Diaz’s ranking in the lightweight division. Currently, Diaz is sitting at only #7. Although contenders ranked as low as #14 (Dan Henderson) and #9 (Holly Holm) have jumped the line in the past, there was an initial backlash from MMA sporting purists. That Nate Diaz is also the last person to beat the lightweight champion (albeit the fight was at welterweight) should also be factored into the equation, however.