With two-time opponent, Nate Diaz expected to return to the lightweight limit for his next Octagon outing, former two-weight world champion, ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor has voiced his interest in a rubber match with the Stockton favourite, at 155-pounds.
Slated to make his Octagon return for the first time in just over a year next weekend at UFC 257, McGregor headlines the Etihad Arena event in Abu Dhabi, UAE — matching with former featherweight opponent, Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier with massive implications on the line for the victor, possible title, in fact.
The outing marks McGregor’s return to the lightweight ranks following his January 2020 welterweight knockout win over Donald Cerrone. And according to UFC president, Dana White, the banner are also currently working on a return to 155-pounds for The Ultimate Fighter 5 victor, Diaz following a prolonged stay at welterweight.
“We’re working on a Nate Diaz fight, right now,” White said during a recent interview with The Mac Life reporter, Oscar Willis. “And it is — it’s not, Tony (Ferguson), but if we get it (the fight) done, I think you’re gonna like it. Lightweight — fifty-five (155-pounds),” White replied when asked if Diaz would return at welterweight or lightweight.
While White remained coy as to who Diaz would be facing on his return to the division for the first time since December 2015, Straight Blast Gym mainstay, McGregor noted his interest in settling his trilogy with Diaz, with the added intrigue of a possible title outing at lightweight.
“There are dangling carrots — treasure chests that get presented to me,” McGregor said during a recent interview with the above mentioned, Willis. “We’ve got world titles in boxing (discussed) now, there’s talks of — I hear Dana (White) talking (about) Nate Diaz coming back down to lightweight. I love that. I’d love to compete against Diaz. We will compete again. If that happens at lightweight for a title, that would be something special, also. So there’s many great options that are in the works and let’s see what happens. I am ready.”
If the possibility of a lightweight rubber match with Diaz fails to present itself, McGregor has insisted he has no qualms about rounding off their 1-1 trilogy back at the welterweight limit where things got started, however, he seems to be intrigued by a possible lightweight title tussle.
“If it’s going to be 155 (-pounds) we could possibly do that for the belt,” McGregor explained. “If not, I’d probably just fight Nate (Diaz) at 170-pounds again. The reason being, we fought at 170 twice. Why mix it up for a trilogy? But, if there’s belts and titles and loftier things on the line, I’m certain a 155-pound challenge with Nate would be something. So, many great fights and many great options, and I’m pretty excited about every single one of them.”
With the rivalry currently sitting at one apiece, Diaz became the first in the UFC to defeat then featherweight champion, McGregor — during a short-notice UFC 196 welterweight main event in 2016. That August, McGregor levelled the score with a close majority decision victory over the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt in a barnburner UFC 202 headliner.