In more recent months, there’s been more talk about Conor McGregor fighting Khabib Nurmagomedov, or throwing down with Justin Gaethje and Donald Cerrone, than facing Nate Diaz for the third time. But, recently McGregor’s longtime coach John Kavanagh relayed he’d like to see the star fight Diaz next. Could a Diaz win at UFC 241 lead to a rubber match with McGregor?
Since McGregor lost to Khabib last October, he’s repeatedly called for a rematch with the lightweight champ. Earlier this year, the former champ also expressed an interest in facing Donald Cerrone, and McGregor’s also talked about facing Diaz one more time. But, more recently, the consensus has been that McGregor is still angling for another go at Nurmagomedov. The latter is booked to fight Dustin Poirier at UFC 242, September 7th. Diaz, meanwhile, is set to face Anthony Pettis at UFC 241, August 17th.
“I always loved the Diaz trilogy,” Kavanagh said. “I’ve kind of said that from the start. I’m really looking forward to seeing how Nate looks in the fight that’s coming up. That would just be, as a fan, very exciting.”
“Honestly, if it’s Conor excited and motivated and pushing himself hard, it doesn’t really matter all that much to me,” Kavanagh added, when asked about the possibility of McGregor fighting Gaethje. “Anybody in the UFC at the level Conor will be fighting are good opponents. You have different challenges.”
Now, there’s no question that a lot of people would love to see Diaz – McGregor III. But, few would argue that there’s less buzz today for that fight, then say back in 2017. If Diaz defeats Pettis at UFC 241, however, then that could very well change. Especially if the Stockton star or McGregor called for the match-up.
But, there are some other things to consider. It seems like Diaz’s days of competing at 155 are over. So, would McGregor be interested in fighting Diaz again at 170? After he avenged his submission loss to Diaz, via decision in 2016, McGregor said the next bout would need to be at 155. Could a catch-weight at 165 materialize?
Then, of course, there’s McGregor’s desire to rematch Khabib. Does he see fighting Diaz again as a path to securing a title shot at 155? He may not. Especially with former interim champ Tony Ferguson, who never actually lost that belt in the cage, knocking on the title shot door.
In all likelihood, we won’t see McGregor commit to his next fight, until after Khabib faces Poirier in September. If Poirier does pull off the upset, then don’t be surprised if the UFC taps McGregor for a title shot, and cites his previous win over the vet as to why.