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Morning Report: If he had to pick, John Kavanagh would like Nate Diaz next for Conor McGregor

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Over the weekend, John Kavanagh, head coach of former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion Conor McGregor, suggested that his star pupil’s next fight would be against current 155-pound champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. So confident was Kavanagh that he said he’d be willing to bet “almost anything” that the lightweight superfight happens before the end of the year. But if he had his druthers, Nurmagomedov wouldn’t be the next fight up for “Notorious.”

In his sitdown with Robin Black over the weekend (h/t MMANytt), Kavanagh said that though the Nurmagomedov fight is the one on the horizon, he would prefer Conor revisit an old foe, Nate Diaz.

“Nate Diaz is my favorite fight, by the way,” Kavanagh said. “If I could pick a fight for the next one it would be that trilogy. I realize it’s not the fan-favorite. The fan favorite, without a close second, is the Khabib fight, but for me, it’s the Nate Diaz rematch and I think the Khabib fight is a lot more straight forward.”

Diaz and McGregor had a pair of bouts in 2016 that elevated the sport to new heights, breaking pay-per-view records and make both fighters household names. Diaz became the first man to defeat McGregor in the UFC, submitting him as a short-notice replacement. In the rematch, McGregor again struggled with the bigger fighter, winning a tightly contested majority decision. For Kavanagh, overcoming those difficulties and the stylistic challenges Diaz presents are a more intriguing fight for McGregor than, Kavanagh implies, “walking through” Nurmagomedov and winning back the lightweight title he was stripped of.

”For me, he had already lost to him, it’s a bigger guy, Conor’s skill set is shutting people’s consciousness off and he’s impossible – a freaking Homer Simpson head, he just keeps moving forward,” Kavanagh said. “Conor’s bravery in [the fight], I’ve seen Conor fight a lot of people that he’s able to walk through and that’s great, it’s fun and you raise a belt, but it doesn’t it doesn’t really excite me that much, not really. But that fight, if you’d been around him, by the time he’d got backstage [after losing the first Diaz fight], we were watching that night, and then the next morning he was not off the phone until Lorenzo and Dana said that would be his next fight.”

McGregor and Diaz have both been absent from the cage since 2016 but that hasn’t stopped both from getting in to dust-ups outside of it. McGregor is currently negotiating a plea deal for attacking a UFC media bus in relation to UFC 223 and Diaz was allegedly involved in a brawl at a Sacramento jiu-jitsu competition over the weekend. Perhaps both of them can put their energies to better use and settle their rivalry once and for all.


MUST-READ STORIES

DWTNCS. Antonina Shevchenko joins sister Valentina in UFC after TKO win on DWTNCS.

Streaming. Bellator announces broadcast deal with streaming service DAZN.

Grand Prix! Bellator targeting welterweight grand prix for September.

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Bold. Wanderlei Silva believes Chael Sonnen will win Bellator heavyweight grand prix.

4match. Rampage Jackson wants to beat Wanderlei Silva into retirement: ‘F*ck him.’

Accusations. Gegard Mousasi welcomes rematch with Lyoto Machida, says Machida was ‘100 percent’ on PEDs.


VIDEO STEW

Dana announcing the contract winners from last night.

Ali being Ali.

Chael on Conor-Khabib.

The latest from Emil Meek’s video series.

This was a truly enjoyable series of videos behind the scenes of Khabib’s life at home.


LISTEN UP

Believe You Me. Discussing UFC Singapore, the latest Jones-DC beef, and Covington.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Promo.

Tony’s knee looking alright.

Back on the grind.

Cejudo making a point about DJ not promoting a fight.

MMA beef in 2018 is weird.

Can’t wait.

Moving down.

He mad.

Congrats.

Sam Alvey with big things in the works.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

N/A.


TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

2008: Josh Thomson won a unanimous decision over Gilbert Melendez to claim the Strikeforce lightweight championship.

2015: Yoel Romero knocked out Lyoto Machida at UFC Fight Night 70.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Signing Lyoto for the rumored amount may be a tad overzealous but Bellator is really making some big moves lately. Leaning into the Grand Prix thing is awesome and Mousasi-Rory is an incredible fight between arguably the best 170 and 185 pounders in the world. Gotta respect the hustle.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL

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