Nate Diaz scared of Tyron Woodley? No, coach says UFC just needs to pay what's right

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To hear UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley tell it, the reason Nate Diaz won’t fight him at UFC 219 is fear.

“I’m fired up about people that tell you, ‘Don’t be scared, homie.’ And then they’re scared, homie! That’s what I’m fired up about,” Woodley this week told TMZ.

Is it really that simple, though? No, says Diaz boxing coach Richard Perez.

“I saw Woodley talking the other day about Nathan being scared – ‘scared, homie.’ But it’s not that,” Perez told Submission Radio. “It’s not all about that, because Nathan ain’t scared to fight nobody. It’s the money, and Dana White and the UFC don’t want to pay him. But he deserves it.”

Diaz (19-11 MMA, 14-9 UFC) hasn’t fought in 15 months, but the last time he did fight he set the UFC pay-per-view buys record with Conor McGregor at an estimated 1.65 million. The two staged a classic that August 2016 night at UFC 202, with McGregor edging out Diaz for a majority decision in their rematch. Diaz won their first bout by submission five months earlier at UFC 196, which elevated his stardom to new levels.

None of this is lost on Diaz, either. He’s played hard ball this year when it comes to a potential octagon return, stating he’d need $20 million for a McGregor trilogy while also declining an interim lightweight title fight offer with Tony Ferguson.

That appears to be the case again with talks of a potential title showdown vs. Woodley (18-3-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) gaining steam. Woodley certainly wants it, because he’s spent much of 2017 angling for “money fights.”

While Perez said he didn’t know what number Diaz gave the UFC to get him back in the octagon, Perez offered what he believes to be Diaz’s worth.

“15 million (dollars) easy – easy,” Perez said. “Because, I mean, he’s a star right now. I mean, McGregor can’t even fight right now; he got suspended. And Woodley’s trying to fight everybody. He says McGregor doesn’t want to fight him, he says B.J. Penn (sic) doesn’t want to fight him. He’s naming all these people that don’t want to fight him, because he’s trying to get his name (out there). He’s trying to get up there, and nobody wants to (fight him). I mean, he’s got the belt. So what? The belt don’t mean nothing no more. It’s about who you’re fighting to make the money.”

And when it comes to money, Perez is honest about who Diaz would fight to earn the most.

“Everybody wants to see McGregor and Nathan,” he said. “Woodley is out of the picture. I mean, he’s just blubbering now and talking because he wants to get noticed. He wants to be up there on top, too. I don’t blame him. That’s normal for a fighter, because he has the belt. He thinks the belt’s important; it’s not right now. It’s about who you’re fighting. That’s why he’s trying to get Nathan. He’s trying to get McGregor. But what everybody wants to really see is McGregor and Nathan. That’s all I ever hear.

“People texting me all the time. They call me all the time. It’s still constantly, ‘When are they fighting? That’s all we want to see.’ That’s the fight. That’s the best fight to watch right now. The last two fights were great, so the third one has to finish. We have to find out the outcome of that one. So that’s where it should be at now.”

For more on UFC 219, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Twitter Mailbag: On McGregor's 'punishment,' Bisping's quick turnaround, and more

Did the UFC settle on an appropriate punishment for Conor McGregor’s Bellator run-in? And is Michael Bisping really fit to fight again so soon after his loss at UFC 217? And, honestly, who throws a boomerang at somebody?

All that and more in this week’s Twitter Mailbag. To ask a question of your own, tweet to @BenFowlkesMMA.

First of all, there’s nothing about either Dana White or Ariel Helwani that screams, “I love camping.” Second, I have some questions about the Dec. 30 bout that Conor McGregor was supposedly secretly booked in before he got pulled as punishment for his antics in Dublin.

For starters, this incident at Bellator 187 happened on Nov. 10. That’s about seven weeks prior to UFC 219, and we’d heard not even the slightest rumbling about a McGregor fight being booked.

Nothing on social media from McGregor or his camp. Nothing from Tony Ferguson or any other likely next opponent. Nothing from the UFC, which is weird because you’d think this would be the kind of thing the company would want to get out there and promote. The rest of the card is mostly set, so much so that it’s already suffered a major injury withdrawal.

Plus, with its year-end events, the UFC usually announces headliners far in advance. Remember when Brock Lesnar fought Alistair Overeem? Announced in September. Amanda Nunes vs. Ronda Rousey? Announced in October. Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva? Announced in July.

You’re telling me that when it comes to the biggest star in the sport, you sit on the news of his next fight until we’re less than two months out?

That makes you think that either the plan to have McGregor headline UFC 219 was in very preliminary stages, or else it didn’t exist.

Even if it did exist, so what? The punishment for a more egregious version of the same transgression that’s gotten other UFC fighters fired is that McGregor’s next fight gets … slightly delayed? In what way is that a punishment for the guy who’s a few months removed from a monster boxing payday?

The whole thing smacks of wolf tickets, as Nick Diaz might say. And as his brother might say, I’m not surprised.

Depends. In this alternate reality, are fans more interested in rankings, or will they still drop everything and reach for their credit cards when the next “money fight” rolls around?

If we’re upset with the current matchmaking trends, we can’t blame promoters. They have no ideals to abandon. They’re just chasing our dollars and following wherever it leads. If we really wanted a world where No. 1 always fights No. 2 – even if we’ve already seen it, and even if it wasn’t much fun the last time – then promoters would give it to us. But apparently we don’t want that reality, because we keep paying for the other one.

It’s always a questionable move to fight twice in three weeks, especially when you’re in your late 30s and you’ve taken a lot of punishment over the years, which Michael Bisping certainly has.

The choke doesn’t worry me. It was a blood choke, released right away once Bisping was out, so I wouldn’t worry about lasting damage.

But according to the Fightmetric stats, GSP landed 41 significant strikes to Bisping’s head in that fight, including the hard left that dropped him at the end. Add to that all the blows he likely took in training, plus the blows he may very well have to take against Kelvin Gastelum in either victory or defeat, and you have an awful lot of brain-jostling in a short period of time.

Bisping should be concerned about that, but so should the UFC. I suspect that in the not-too distant future some brain trauma chickens are going to come home to roost for MMA, in much the same way they have in other sports. If and when that happens, the UFC could face some tough questions about its decision to give a 38-year-old man two fights in three weeks – especially when it’s acting as its own regulator for the second one.

As of this writing, a welterweight title fight between champion Tyron Woodley and challenger Nate Diaz is still just a rumor. Hopefully it stays that way. There’s so much interesting stuff going on at welterweight that it makes no sense to reach for Diaz, whose last win at welterweight came against a lightweight.

Diaz has barely fought in the division in the last six years, and the only reason for him to do so now would be to inject some of that Diaz flair into the welterweight title picture. Not a fan.

A whole different energy, for one. It seems obvious, but everything seems bigger and louder and more urgent in the arena. Even little stuff like the walkout music, which you hear as background noise on the TV broadcasts (if it’s broadcast at all), becomes an assault on the senses when you’re there live. That carries over into those big, fight-ending moments. You get sucked into the experience more fully inside the arena.

Also, especially since you’re going to a UFC “Fight Night” event? You can use the delays between fights to hit up the beer and hot dog vendor. Instead of, you know, getting forcibly thrown back to the studio in between commercials.

Until I see with my own eyes a person in boxing gloves throwing a punch at another person with boxing gloves at a Zuffa-promoted event, I will regard any talk of the UFC getting into boxing as pure Just Saying Stuff™. It’s the simplest possible explanation at this point.

What Bellator is onto is this: Its biggest names are all fighters who used to be somebody, and that only gets you so far one matchup at a time. But throwing them all together for a tournament that is almost guaranteed to get weird is a way of leveraging their collective drawing power, as well as appealing to the disaster-loving rubberneck impulse of MMA fans in general.

And, honestly, it’s probably going to work. We’re going to watch this thing. At least for as long as it lasts.

Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Follow him on Twitter at @BenFowlkesMMA. Twitter Mailbag appears every Thursday on MMAjunkie.

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Oddsmakers like Tyron Woodley over Nate Diaz if fight happens

So here we are talking about Nate Diaz maybe, actually, potentially making a return to the octagon, and it involves him fighting for a UFC title, but not against lightweight champion Conor McGregor.

Wait, what?

Indeed, Diaz strength and conditioning coach Jose Garcia sent folks into a tizzy Tuesday on social media when he posted – and then quickly deleted – an update on Instagram suggesting Diaz (19-11 MMA, 14-9 UFC) has begun training camp for a fight. On Wednesday, we found out thanks to that the UFC has looked into possibly booking Diaz in a title fight against Tyron Woodley (18-3-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC), an idea the welterweight champion welcomes.

You know that’s all it takes for the oddsmakers to get going as online sports book Bovada has opened the following line:

Tyron Woodley vs. Nate Diaz
Tyron Woodley -260 (5/13)
Nate Diaz +200 (2/1)

Translation: If a fight does come to fruition, Woodley is a sizeable favorite, requiring a $260 bet to win $100.

This probably makes sense. Diaz would have a considerable height advantage (6-foot to 5-9) and a reach advantage (77 inches to 74), but he hasn’t fought in 15 months, when he dropped a majority decision in a rematch with Conor McGregor at UFC 202.

Woodley, meanwhile, has gone six straight bouts without a loss since August 2014, with two successful title defenses to his credit against Stephen Thompson and Demian Maia.

Are you feeling this potential matchup? Vote in our poll below.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

For more on UFC 219, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Tyron Woodley: I'll fight Nate Diaz at UFC 219 if he wants to fight me

With a little over six weeks to go until UFC 219, the UFC remains in need of a headliner for its year-end pay-per-view event in Las Vegas.

Could Tyron Woodley vs. Nate Diaz be it? first reported Tuesday that Diaz started training camp for a fight. On Wednesday, reported that the UFC has looked into the possibility of booking a welterweight title fight between champ Woodley (18-3-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) and Diaz (19-11 MMA, 14-9 UFC).

According to ESPN, Woodley’s original plan following his most recent title defense against Demian Maia in July was to take off the rest of 2017 to nurse a shoulder injury. But it seems he’s willing to make an exception for a showdown with Diaz.

“If Nate wants to go (at) UFC 219, I’m ready,” Woodley said.

Woodley has defended his belt twice this year, first winning a majority decision in a rematch with Stephen Thompson at UFC 209 and then taking a unanimous decision from Maia in a lackluster affair at UFC 214. Woodley has campaigned recently for “money” fights, which a bout with Diaz would constitute.

Diaz’s future has remained uncertain while he’s seemingly held out for a third fight with lightweight champion Conor McGregor. Diaz submitted McGregor in their first fight last year at UFC 196 but lost the rematch via majority decision at UFC 202 and hasn’t fought in nearly 15 months since.

In the way of a potential trilogy is interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson, who could be next in line for McGregor to unify the title. Diaz was offered an interim title fight with Ferguson earlier this year but backed out after initially accepting. Diaz has claimed it would take a huge amount of money to get him back in the octagon.

Could a shot at Woodley’s title entice him?

For more on UFC 219, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Joseph Duffy: McGregor vs. Ferguson the right match, but not because it's owed to division


Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

Joseph Duffy wants to see the UFC lightweight division restored to its natural order as much as anyone, but he doesn’t view it as Conor McGregor’s responsibility to ensure that’s what happens next.

It’s been nearly a year since McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) captured the UFC lightweight title. In the meantime he’s taken a break from competition to witness the birth of his first child, and also crossed over into boxing for a high-profile showdown with Floyd Mayweather.

After the bout with Mayweather, there’s been rampant speculation about what “The Notorious” will do next. He’s listed several potential options, but the leading scenario coming from the McGregor camp appears to be a desire for a trilogy matchup with Nate Diaz (19-11 MMA, 14-9 UFC) rather than a title unification bout with interim 155-pound champ Tony Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC).

Duffy (16-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC), who defeated McGregor by first-round submission in a November 2010 fight under the Cage Warriors banner, said no one should have influence over McGregor’s decision other than himself. In Duffy’s opinion, McGregor has earned that much.

“Look what he’s done,” Duffy told MMAjunkie at a Wednesday media event at Tristar Gym in Montreal. “He’s done amazing things. He’s won the featherweight (title), obviously jumped up, won the lightweight (title), jumped across to boxing, but he’s done a lot of work himself also. He’s done all the media stuff, everything else. Whatever his move next is going to be the best move for him, and that’s his decision to make.”

Duffy, who meets James Vick (11-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) in a 155-pound at UFC 217 on Nov. 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, is looking to climb the ranks into a championship fight of his own. He just signed a new seven-fight contract with the UFC and said he hopes to hold the belt before the end of that deal. For a budding contender such as himself, it would seem preferable to have a champion who will defend against the top challenger regardless of circumstance, but McGregor’s UFC career has been far from traditional.

In terms of knowing where he stands in the weight class, Duffy believes a unification match between McGregor and Ferguson is the logical move. However, he’s not going to criticize McGregor or the UFC for opting to go in the direction of the more profitable option in Diaz.

“For the rankings’ sake, I think obviously Conor against Ferguson is the right match,” Duffy said. “It kind of legitimizes the rankings again. I believe that’s probably the right matchup. It will stabilize the division again and then at least we’ve got a pecking order again so you know where you stand and what you need to do to get to the top of the pecking order.”

For more on UFC 217, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Paulie Malignaggi says discussions underway for Conor McGregor fight and PLEASE GOD NO


Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured, Featured Videos, News, UFC

According to former boxing champ Paulie Malignaggi, discussions are underway for a potential fight with sparring partner-turned bitter rival Conor McGregor.

“I know Al Haymon’s talking with Dana White,” Malignaggi told Fight Hype. “I know they’re speaking, so if they want the fight they’ll make it.”

Dear god, let us hope they do not want the fight. Let us do more than hope. Let us offer up blood sacrifices to avoid this fate. Let us throw a virgin into a volcano and slaughter a goat on the first fine market day. Let us seize the property of those who would advocate for such a fight, then gather their belongings in the town square and set them ablaze. Let us never relent.

On some level, sure, I get it. Malignaggi sniffs a payday. He has an image to maintain. He has a very personal grudge against McGregor that has at times drifted into restraining order territory. He has a very distinct way of pronouncing the word “balls,” (boo-awls) and a corresponding love of saying it over and over again.

It’s not surprising that he wants this fight, but the powers that be must not let him have it. The reason is very simple: While a little bit of ridiculousness can be fun, too much is just plain stupid.

McGregor’s boxing match with Floyd Mayweather, for instance? Just absurd enough to be a good time, though even then we had to exercise extreme patience and suspend more than a little disbelief in order to enjoy it.

But another boxing match, especially against Malignaggi, all while his UFC lightweight title goes undefended? That’s the point where McGregor would drift hopelessly into self-parody.

And for what? I mean, money, sure. But there’s plenty of that to be found elsewhere. The UFC is desperate for McGregor’s return. MMA fans are, too. A better-than-expected performance against Mayweather likely only increased his star power, which means he could defend his UFC title against a coat rack right now and still break MMA pay-per-view records.

A boxing match with Malignaggi, on the other hand, would be a step backwards in every meaningful sense. It would be the lazy sequel to the breakout hit, the “Speed 2: Cruise Control” of combat sports matchups. And you know something? There’s a good reason Keanu Reeves turned that sequel down, and it’s because he has some sense.

Back in the UFC there are a plethora of options for McGregor’s next fight, ranging from the logical choices like Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov to the purely profit-driven possibilities like Nate Diaz or Georges St-Pierre.

All of them would be better ideas than another stupid boxing match against a lesser draw who’s been following McGregor around like a bad credit score ever since their fallout as sparring partners.

Fighters and promoters want to make money. Fans want to have some fun. But we can do all those things without being idiots about it.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured, Featured Videos, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Conor McGregor's next move will determine if his return lasts


Filed under: Featured, News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

Retired MMA fighter and Sirius XM host R.J. Clifford is looking at Conor McGregor’s next move to judge whether his MMA return is short-lived, or a new lease.

“If he chooses to face Nate Diaz next, that signals to me that he’s just about done,” Clifford told MMAjunkie Radio. “Maybe a Nate Diaz trilogy and maybe a Georges St-Pierre fight, and then he’s walking away a bajillionaire and doing whatever he’s going to do.

“If he does take a Tony Ferguson fight next, that’s signaling to me he has a couple more years in him and wants to keep fighting.”

If recent events are any indication, McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) is thinking long term. UFC President Dana White said McGregor will next defend his belt against newly minted interim champ Tony Ferguson (24-3 MMA, 14-1 UFC), who got a special tweet-out from the undisputed lightweight champ. There’s even been speculation as to a meeting at UFC 219, which takes place Dec. 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Then again, McGregor has said he’d open to a lot of different options, including a trilogy with Diaz. The good news, according to Clifford, is that he can still make that fight happen even if he faces Ferguson next.

“(McGregor) can afford to lose and not take any shine off the Nate Diaz trilogy,” Clifford said. “They could both lose three fights in a row, and that trilogy of theirs still sells two million PPVs.”

Whatever happens next, the sure bet is that it will be entertaining.

Check out the video above for more from Clifford.

And for more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

MMA has inspired some terrible tattoos, but this McGregor-Diaz ink is pretty amazing

One MMA fan now has quite the way to remember UFC 202 and the rematch between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz.

On Aug. 20, 2016, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, then-featherweight champion McGregor narrowly edge Diaz via majority decision in a non-title welterweight bout. McGregor avenged a submission loss to Diaz from earlier in the year, and it ultimately set up a move to lightweight, where McGregor beat Eddie Alvarez to claim the 155-pound title.

The rematch between McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) and Diaz (19-11 MMA, 14-9 UFC) was a back-and-forth, bloody and often-grueling five-rounder that earned plenty of “Fight of the Year” accolades. UFC 202, which had the two rivals on the top of the bill, is also reported to have done 1.6 million pay-per-view buys – a UFC record.

So how do you honor one of the biggest fights in MMA history? One MMA fan got some nifty ink to do it.

Here’s the tattoo, in video form (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

It appears to be inspired by this image from AP photographer Isaac Brekken:

For more on UFC 202, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Coach: Conor McGregor 'too clean' for Tony Ferguson; fans prefer Nate Diaz trilogy


Filed under: News, UFC

Who’s next for UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor – new interim titleholder Tony Ferguson or two-time former foe Nate Diaz?

According to McGregor’s striking coach, Owen Roddy, both are intriguing options, though he personally prefers a third meeting with Diaz. And he thinks fans feel the same way.

This past Saturday in UFC 216’s pay-per-view headliner, Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) picked up a third-round submission victory over Kevin Lee (16-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) to claim the interim 155-pound title.

Immediately afterward, Ferguson called for a title-unification bout (check out the video above) with McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC), who hasn’t fought since an August PPV boxing blockbuster loss to Floyd Mayweather.

During a recent appearance on Submission Radio, Roddy discussed McGregor’s options, including Ferguson and how a title-unification bout would play out (via YouTube):

“He’s good, obviously,” Roddy said of Ferguson. “He wouldn’t be the interim champion if he wasn’t good. His style is, you know, it’s not traditional. It’s a bit unorthodox and stuff, but I just honestly think that Conor’s going to be way too clean for Ferguson. If Ferguson tries to stand with Conor for an extended period of time, it will be lights out, in my opinion.

“You know, he’s tough as well. He’s tough and durable, so he may take a couple of smacks, but at the end of the day, Conor’s going to be way too clean and too technical. … He won’t get touched. That’s my opinion. But yeah, it will be an interesting one, and it will be an exciting fight as well because Ferguson does come to fight, and he’s aggressive. He goes in. He looks to finish fights. So it will be exciting. But yeah, without a doubt if he wants to stand and bang with Conor, it’ll be lights out fairly quick, I think.”

McGregor vs. Ferguson makes sense from a rankings, title and simple logic standpoint. Champion vs. Champion, after all. But no McGregor return would be complete without speculation of a third meeting and rubber match between McGregor and Diaz (19-11 MMA, 14-9 UFC). UFC President Dana White, though, suggested McGregor vs. Diaz 3 is now unlikely.

However, Rowdy, who expects McGregor to return in the first quarter of 2018, said he and a lot of fight fans would prefer that matchup over one with Ferguson.

“I honestly think that people would rather – like, I think people would rather see Conor vs. Diaz,” he said. “I just think it’s a more exciting fight for everybody. It’s the trilogy. The first two fights, the back and forth between the guys and the way the fights went – you know, who wouldn’t want to see the third fight? But of course, it makes sense that he fights (Ferguson), he defends the belt.

“Whatever happens, I don’t know, but I said this already: I would like to see (McGregor-Diaz 3). The Ferguson fight is an interesting one as well. Like, he’s an exciting fighter so it will be an exciting fight. So either or, either or.”

Roddy also didn’t rule out a possible return to boxing; McGregor and Paulie Malignaggi have some beef, after all. But like most of the MMA world, Roddy is ready for McGregor’s return to the cage rather than a ring.

“I think even Conor said himself that he’s got unfinished business in the octagon and he wants to go back and defend his belt,” Roddy said. “So yeah, I think that’s what’s going to happen. Is he done with boxing? Probably not. If the right fight comes up and the right money’s on the table, I’m sure he would jump in and go again. You know, without a doubt. So who knows what next year is going to be like anyway? It’s going to be bigger than 2017 anyway. That’s what I imagine.”

For complete coverage of UFC 216, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Dana White nixes Nate Diaz, says Conor McGregor vs. Tony Ferguson 'has to happen'


Filed under: News, UFC

LAS VEGAS – For all the copy generated by Conor McGregor’s team about Nate Diaz and the inevitability it lent to a rubber match, the reality, according to Dana White, is that the UFC lightweight champ needs to unify the belt.

That means newly minted interim champ Tony Ferguson(24-3 MMA, 14-1 UFC) is next for McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC), and not Diaz (19-11 MMA, 14-9 UFC).

“Nobody’s talked about Diaz – Diaz has never been talked about,” White said at the post-event presser for UFC 216 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. “That’s Internet bull(expletive). Tony’s the interim champion, Conor’s the champion. It’s the fight that makes sense.

“It’s the fight that has to happen – it doesn’t ‘make sense,’ it’s the fight that has to happen.”

White already has shot down one rumored date for McGregor vs. Diaz 3 – the promotion’s year-end event at UFC 219 on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas. But he didn’t say Diaz wasn’t even an option for McGregor’s next fight.

McGregor’s team then stepped into the breach, with the champ’s longtime coach John Kavanagh and boxing coach Owen Roddy opining that a rubber match with Diaz made sense for the Irish champ’s next fight.

And what of the man himself? McGregor, flush with options after a box office blockbuster against Floyd Mayweather, said he could rematch the undefeated boxing kingpin. Or, he said he could fight a rubber match with Diaz. He could box. He could fight Paulie Malignaggi. The only restrictions to his options, it seemed, were those that were less than lucrative.

But ultimately, unless McGregor wants a court fight on his hands, White remains his promoter. And after green-lighting the UFC champ for a foray into boxing, the UFC executive no doubt wants him back in the octagon, earning for the UFC. Possibly on Dec. 30 at UFC 219.

“We didn’t specifically talk about it, but we talked about it kinda,” White said. “He wants to fight again this year. He went and partied in Ibiza for a while and went back home for a while. You’ve got to let him blow off some steam, and then we’ll figure it out.”

That’s no doubt music to the ears of Ferguson, who called out Conor “McNuggets” in no uncertain terms after his third-round submission of Kevin Lee.

“Defend or vacate,” was Ferguson’s refrain, as it’s been since McGregor has detoured from defending the UFC lightweight title.

Now, it appears he’ll get his wish. If McGregor signs off, of course. That should be easy.

For complete coverage of UFC 216, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie