When Nate Diaz submitted McGregor at UFC 196, it made him a star. Then, when he lost to McGregor in their rematch at UFC 202 and it was the biggest pay-per-view event in UFC history, most people assumed a third fight between the two was inevitable. Instead, McGregor won the UFC lightweight title and then took a year off of MMA to move over to professional boxing. Now, it appears Diaz might have missed his chance.
Speaking recently with The Mac Life, McGregor’s longtime coach, John Kavanagh, admitted that a trilogy fight with Diaz was appealing after UFC 202, but that the fight has lost its luster over time since McGregor has continued to elevate himself while Diaz has been sitting on the sidelines.
“So definitely for the first six months I thought everybody would have saw the same as me,” said Kavanagh. “There’s just a beautiful relationship between Conor and Nate in terms of it’s just a great back and forth with them, outside the cage and inside the cage. It’s a lovely fight. His five round rematch is still one of my favorite fights. That being said, I dd assume that Nate would be as busy or busier than Conor.
“Conor’s had an MMA fight and a boxing fight since and we haven’t seen Nate since. So I started changing and you could see it amongst the fans who are - I’ve always said and I still believe - are the most important factor in all of this because they pay for the Pay-Per-Views, and that’s what they want to see. But you can see it was clearly becoming they wanted to see either Khabib or Tony in there rather than [Nate], probably for the same reason that we didn’t: Nate didn’t keep busy. So I don’t think it would be quite right for that to happen before the winner of [Khabib]-Tony, because Conor, [Khabib], and Tony have kept busy and Nate hasn’t.”
While McGregor has been away and Diaz has been in a self-imposed exile, the rest of the UFC’s talent stacked lightweight division has been carrying on, with Tony Ferguson winning an interim championship and Khabib Nurmagomedov remaining undefeated with obliterating top-ranked fighters. The two are set to face each other at UFC 223 in April for a lightweight title, though whether it will be Ferguson’s interim belt or the undisputed title is still undecided. Either way, the winner will ostensibly fight McGregor later on in the year and Kavanagh suggests that Diaz should take a fight in the meantime too, to set up an end-of-the-year showdown with McGregor of epic proportions.
“I think Nate should get one in in the meantime,” Kavanagh said. “Him vs. Woodley, I hear there are rumors of that or him against a good lightweight, and if the MMA gods smile, it would be a victory for him. Conor fights the winner of [Khabib-Tony] and then you’ve got this amazing superfight for New Year’s Eve.”
The MMA Beat.
And After the Beat.
Style experts grading UFC fighters is a brilliant idea.
Kavanagh vocalizing all of our greatest fears.
Paulie still trying.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Bellator is just more fun than the UFC.
Ya thought I was joking about my busted knee...Done a 3rd of my camp in this bad boy!! Can’t wait till I have an injury free camp... pic.twitter.com/N5ZBIpUMGw— Alex Volkanovski (@alexvolkanovski) February 16, 2018
Bellator should just become one big openweight organization.
He’s king of the 148.5 pound division though.
I don’t understand why Emmett is ranked 4th. With only 2 fights in the division. Yes he has a big win over Lamas but he failed to make weight. Just doesn’t make sense https://t.co/FMC6uPuPy8— Cub Swanson (@CubSwanson) February 16, 2018
Devin Powell is crushing this.
Thanks for the shoutout @jimrome I’d love to talk about the ruptured testicle experience with @JoeLauzon . It will nut disappoint, I promise. #pleaseretweet #retweet #help #share #mma #ufc #jimrome pic.twitter.com/oyKKwkL1ZA— Devin Powell (@DevinPowellMMA) February 15, 2018
Chito backing T-Wood.
Not eligible for heavyweights to do though.
Good on you, Max.
Today was one of the best days of my life. To speak to these kids.... from my heart. Was simply amazing. I think I found another life calling. Can’t wait to use my influence and share my story. Follow your dreams. Anything is possible. #motivation #dreams #yesyoucan pic.twitter.com/vB2ufleMTd— Max Griffin (@maxPAINmma) February 15, 2018
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
1996: At UFC 8, Ken Shamrock defended the UFC Superfight Championship by submitting Kimo Leopoldo with a kneebar. That evening, Don Frye won the “David vs. Goliath” eight-man tournament, defeating Gary Goodridge in the finals.
And just like that, another fight weekend is here and this one’s a double dipper. Tonight the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix continues rolling along with its next quarterfinal bout and Sunday we’ve got UFC Austin which is filled with sneaky fun fights even if it feels lackluster.
I hope everyone enjoys the fights this weekend and see y’all on Monday.
Who wins the main event Sunday night?
This poll is closed
If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting, and like us on Facebook.