Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz have one of the most interesting rivalries in MMA. Sure there have been flashpoints, but there’s a respect between the two men. They acknowledge that they share similar values and back it up in the cage. It’s not all like McGregor’s toxic relationship with Khabib Nurmagamedov.
However, it’s now been four years since The Notorious last fought Diaz. The pair were expected to complete their trilogy but then McGregor moved onto Floyd Mayweather and a lightweight title fight. In short, he had bigger and more lucrative options.
But could the time be right for it to happen now? Multiple sources are reporting that it could be McGregor’s next move and it would actually make sense. After beating Donald Cerrone, McGregor definitely wants to fight again this year and a Diaz fight would be high-profile and fan-friendly.
So far they are one apiece in their rivalry. Diaz stunned the world when he submitted McGregor in their first meeting. It was the first time the seemingly invincible Irishman had lost in the UFC. They then fought out a very tight decision in their rematch. This time McGregor got the win, however some dispute that. Firas Zahabi believes that this fight should happen and it could even be for the mythical 165lb belt. He said:
“I love that idea of Conor McGregor fighting Nate Diaz again at 170 or 155,” Zahabi said on a recent AMA session. “Either way, it doesn’t bother me, even a catchweight, 165. Why not start a new title, a new belt, a new championship title?
“Super lightweight, 165, Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz, I would tune in,” he continued. “I think a five rounder with a belt on the line to settle this epic trilogy fight would be phenomenal. I’d love to see that fight. I think it’s a great great possibility.”
Dana White seems adamant that Jorge Masvidal will fight Kamaru Usman next. Meanwhile, Khabib Nurmagamedov will take on Tony Ferguson in April. Win or lose, the Russian will likely be out until the winter then. This leaves Justin Gaethje and Diaz. While Gaethje is definitely more deserving, Diaz is the more well-known of the two and it could be the perfect time for McGregor to finish the trilogy. Michael Bisping agrees. He told Ariel Helwani:
“God bless him, he’s making tons of money, he’s going to fight Khabib, or I tell you what’s going to happen, I guarantee he’s going to fight Nate Diaz next. Masvidal and Usman are probably going to fight each other. Khabib is going to fight Tony in April, then it’s Ramadan.
If he beats Tony he’s not going to fight any time soon. Conor already teased Diaz and that’s good business for everybody involved. The fans want to see it, everyone makes money, there you go, that’s what’s going to happen, there’s my prediction.”
Whatever happens, you can bet that all eyes will be on McGregor. He’s back in business and the UFC are definitely going to milk it for as long as possible. Whether or not it’s Diaz, Gaethje, Khabib, Masvidal or even Floyd Mayweather, it’s going to be box office.
As long as he doesn’t get arrested any time soon. Those sexual assault allegations haven’t gone away yet.