UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor (pictured) may have gotten his way with an immediate welterweight rematch against Nate Diaz after getting upset by the submission specialist in March, but win, lose or draw in Saturday’s sequel, McGregor’s next fight will be at 145 pounds.
UFC president Dana White made it clear that after UFC 202, McGregor best get his diet on in order to shed roughly 25 pounds.
“That’s the plan. The plan is [if] he beats Nate Diaz, he goes back to 145. He loses to Nate Diaz, he goes back to 145. That’s what we are looking at,” White said on The Jim Rome Show.
After knocking out Jose Aldo in merely 13 seconds to unify the featherweight crown, McGregor hopped to the lightweight division to challenge then-champ Rafael Dos Anjos in an attempt to become the UFC’s first two-way title holder. Dos Anjos was subsequently forced to withdraw from UFC 196 with a broken foot and Diaz, who was vacationing in Mexico, agreed to serve as substitute on just 11 days’ notice.
Due to the last-minute nature of Diaz’s arrival, all parties ultimately settled on a welterweight affair. White and then-UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta tried to convince McGregor to drop back down to featherweight to defend his belt after Diaz choked out their cash cow, but the competitor in McGregor refused to accept the loss and was adamant that avenging the defeat to Diaz at welterweight was the only option.
White wasn’t thrilled, but he ultimately gave his golden boy what he wanted. However, after Saturday it’s another featherweight title unification bout against interim champ Jose Aldo. Or, a featherweight title defense against a top contender if Aldo gets injured (again).
“I didn’t love it. I didn’t love it. Either did Lorenzo,” White said. “We tried to talk him out of it. But it’s one of the things about Conor McGregor that makes this guy so fun for fight fans.
“In boxing, guys absolutely avoid the fights that they think are tough. They avoid the fights that they think they can lose. Conor McGregor is the guy who is at the top. He’s making tons of money, super famous. Every time this guy fights, he puts all the chips on the table. He doesn’t care, he wants to test himself. These are the guys that are fun to watch.”