It’s all but a foregone conclusion that UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz will fight for a third time upon McGregor’s return to MMA, the winner of next month’s Tony Ferguson-Kevin Lee interim title fight be damned!
At this point, it’s simply a matter of figuring out the date and location for the McGregor-Diaz trilogy. Irish newspaper The Sunday World last weekend reported it was in the works for UFC 219 on Dec. 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, to which UFC President Dana White flat-out denied was “not true at all.”
Speaking at the launch of the Original Penguin AW17 collection in Dublin with Mike Sheridan, McGregor’s coach, John Kavangh, reiterated that “December 30th is definitely not happening” while adding he wishes for the fight to happen on St. Patrick’s Day.
“If it was my choice, and I must stress that this is only my choice and that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen, it would be Nate Diaz in March,” Kavanagh said. “That’s what I would push towards. I have in my head that it would be a Paddy’s Day card in New York, Nate Diaz 3. I think that would be absolutely amazing. That’s what I would wish for. That’s what I’ll be leaning towards with my 0.1 percent influence when I meet with Conor and (manager) Audie (Attar) tomorrow. I want Diaz 3, Paddy’s Day in New York.”
So why Diaz for the third time? Why not the conventional move of unifying the title against the Ferguson vs. Lee winner at UFC 216? Because, as Kavanagh put it, “Conor doesn’t have to do that anymore” – as in, he doesn’t have to take fights according to rankings or what’s deemed the right thing.
There’s that and simply the allure of Diaz.
“I always think that if I was to develop a fighter that would give Conor his best or worst night, either way you look at it, I would come up with Nate Diaz,” Kavanagh said. “He can walk through anything. He can match him somewhat in the trash talk, and then you have the thing between Conor’s crew and his crew.
“For a bunch of reasons (Diaz is the right fight). It’s not just about being the right guy; that’s all amateur level. This is professional, and it’s about entertainment. (MMA) is part sport, part entertainment, and I just find it hard to think of a better build-up and a better show than that trilogy fight.”
They have to settle the score. And, well, doing it on St. Patrick’s Day would just be an added bonus to hype it up. With all the Irish in…