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Manager: Conor McGregor would have taken Nate Diaz rematch at 155 or 170

LOS ANGELES -- UFC president Dana White said Conor McGregor wanted his rematch against Nate Diaz to be at 170 pounds. McGregor's coach John Kavanagh said McGregor wanted it at 155 pounds and the UFC asked for 170.

As it turns out, they were both right.

Audie Attar, McGregor's manager, said McGregor initially asked for the fight with Diaz, which will headline UFC 200 on July 9 in Las Vegas, at 170 pounds -- just like the first fight at UFC 196. Then, after listening to Kavanagh and the rest of his team, McGregor said at the last minute that he'd be willing to do it at 155, Attar explained.

"At the 11th hour, before we signed the bout agreement, [McGregor] said, 'Look, I'm hearing everybody. If everybody wants to do 155, fine. Let's do 155,'" Attar said Wednesday at a UFC 199 media day. ... "The contract was already written at 170. And so, in Conor's defense, he really didn't give two sh*ts. He really wanted it at 170, because he wanted to prove he could beat him there."

The UFC said the contract was already done and McGregor did not object -- he just wanted to get the rematch hammered out, Attar said.

"Conor is his own CEO, but intelligently he listens to the people around him and then makes his own final decision," Attar said. ... "He was trying to accommodate and listen to everybody and be a team player to make this happen."

And it will. McGregor, the UFC's biggest financial draw, will get a chance to avenge his loss to Diaz at the biggest event in UFC history. Last month, Diaz choked McGregor out in the second round to stun the MMA world. Diaz was the bigger fighter and showed a chin of iron after getting hit hard with big McGregor punches in the first round. McGregor got tired and then hurt by Diaz punches. Once things got to the ground, it was over quickly.

McGregor, 27, is the UFC featherweight champion. He could have easily gone back down to 145 pounds and defended his belt there. At first glance, this rematch appears to be McGregor stubbornly wanting to avenge his only loss in the UFC. It's not quite that way, though, according to Attar. At least not completely.

"For him, that loss in itself, because of how he was performing until it went the other way is yet again fueled by his own self-belief system, confidence and desire to want to continue to push the envelope with his athletic ability and his skills, no matter who is in front of him," Attar said. "It happens to be the guy who beat him. He wants to put the same canvas up and paint a different picture for the audience to watch. And that's what it's all about, really.

"Economically, business-wise it makes sense as well. So you check all the boxes."

UFC 196 pulled in a reported 1.5 million pay-per-view buys which would make it the top grossing UFC pay-per-view of all time and the second biggest in terms of buys. The rematch is sure to make big money as well. So, McGregor gets another massive payday in two years' worth of massive paydays plus another go with Diaz.

"I think Conor has been very meticulous," Attar said. "It's been great. As a team, we've looked at everything. But it's always been fueled by athletic competition and not only against someone, but against himself and it's always been about that."

Attar said that immediately after the loss to Diaz, McGregor got on his smartphone and watched the fight with Kavanagh on a loop. The managed estimated that McGregor watched and re-watched the fight "20 times" even before the press conference started.

"Obsessed," Attar said. "Obsessed with it."

That's the word that keeps popping up with McGregor. White used it to describe how McGregor felt about fighting Diaz again at 170. That obsession ended up changing late in the game after talking with his team, but the fight will still be at welterweight.

As always seems to be the case, McGregor got what he wanted from the jump. Attar said Kavanagh and even the UFC asked him to do it at 155. It wasn't until the contracts were already drawn up that McGregor backed off 170 and said he'd do it at lightweight. The promotion could have drawn up new paperwork, but McGregor didn't even care enough to ask them. So, it'll be 170 after all.

And that's how it all went down, Attar said. Not what people might have speculated on the Internet.

"It was just people running away with their own inferences and interpretations of what may have happened," Attar said. "It's all bullsh*t."

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