If at first you don’t succeed at welterweight…
After the rumor mill suggested two weeks ago that an immediate rematch between Conor McGregor (pictured) and Nate Diaz at welterweight was destined for UFC 200, today’s official announcement was far from a surprise. However, before the rumblings began it was pretty much understood McGregor was headed back to the featherweight division to defend his title against either Jose Aldo or Frankie Edgar in his next outing.
In fact, it was McGregor who said it himself at the UFC 196 post-fight press conference after getting submitted by Diaz earlier this month.
Well, something changed McGregor’s mind on the drive back to his rented “Mac Mansion” in Las Vegas from the presser. Whether it was McGregor’s stubbornness, ego, pride or some combination of the three that convinced the confident Irishman to give Diaz another go at 170 pounds, it soon became the only option in his mind.
“After the fight, me and [UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta] went up to his house that he rents here and we started talking, ‘What are you thinking? What’s next?’ And he was obsessed. Obsessed with fighting Nate Diaz again,” UFC president Dana White shared on Wednesday’s edition of ESPN’s SportsCenter. “Obviously, Lorenzo and I tried to argue with him and said, ‘Let’s go back down to 145 and defend your title. Or, if you really want the Diaz fight that bad, do it at 155.’ And he wants to fight at 170.
“Even his coach [John Kavanagh] tried to get him to get off this rematch and off the 170 pound fight, but it’s what he wanted.”
And as well all know by now, whatever “Notorious” wants, “Notorious” gets. He is the UFC’s biggest cash cow, after all.
Speaking of cash cow, it has been reported UFC 196 garnered a whopping 1.5 million pay-per-view buys courtesy of McGregor. So from a financial perspective, it’s understandable White and Fertitta didn’t put up much of a fight to have them run it back. Although, the UFC honchos gave their blessing with the caveat that, no matter what, McGregor’s next fight will be a featherweight title defense.
It will mark McGregor’s second featherweight title unification title bout in as many 145 pound outings, because after announcing McGregor and Diaz would headline UFC 200 in a welterweight affair, the promotion reported former featherweight champion Jose Aldo, who then-interim featherweight champ McGregor knocked out cold in 13 seconds in December to unify the belt, and Frankie Edgar would co-headline the show for the vacant interim featherweight crown.
No matter what happens against Diaz, McGregor will face the victor of Aldo vs. Edgar.
“Win, lose or draw in this fight against Nate Diaz, he will go in and he will fight either Jose or Frankie, whoever wins at [UFC] 200,” White said in closing.
UFC 200 goes down July 9 inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.