John Kavanagh Prefers Nate Diaz, Tony Ferguson Fights For Conor McGregor Return

    ByRoss Markey

    Dec 8, 2021

    Straight Blast Gym head coach, John Kavanagh has commented on the impending return of longtime student, former two-weight UFC gold holder, Conor McGregor next year, and has outlined potential fights with two-time foe, Nate Diaz, or former interim lightweight gold holder, Tony Ferguson as his preferred opponent for McGregor.

    McGregor, who last competed in July of this year, dropped a first round doctor’s stoppage TKO loss to incoming UFC 269 lightweight title challenger, Dustin Poirier — after fracturing his left tibia in the closing stages of the frame.

    The Dubliner has been out of action since, undergoing a surgical procedure the following day in California, and is currently recovering and rehabilitating from the invasive procedure to address the injury.

    McGregor is expected to be sidelined until the second quarter of next year at the very earliest, however, has earmarked a date in April for his return to mixed martial arts sparring.

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    In his time away from the Octagon, the Crumlin native has been linked with numerous pairings upon his return, including matchups against Michael Chandler, Jorge Masvidal, Rafael dos Anjos, Khamzat Chimaev, as well as both Diaz and Ferguson.

    According to Kavanagh, if he were booking his student’s next pairing, he would lean toward a trilogy, rubber-match with Diaz, or a long-overdue matchup with former interim lightweight champion, Ferguson.

    I’ll be honest, the Nate Diaz trilogy is very, very tempting,” Kavanagh told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour.

    It’s a fight that gives me nightmares. The man doesn’t stop coming forward, for whether it’s three rounds or five rounds. But it’s an intriguing fight. So, that one is definitely very interesting. But also, the Tony Ferguson one — it never happened. It was talked about a lot. Tony still has — I believe, a lot to offer the game. He’s a very unorthodox striker, grappler. I think the buildup would be fun for the fans. So, you know, any of those kinds of legacy guys; but look, that division is killer.” (H/T Sportskeeda)

    For Diaz, the Stockton native has just one fight remaining on his current UFC contract, and is targeting a January return at UFC 270 in Anaheim, California, however, a pairing has yet to come to fruition.

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    As far as Oxnard veteran, Ferguson is concerned, the former interim gold holder is in the midst of a three-fight losing run, following a 12-fight, division-tying undefeated streak — dropping a trio of largely one-sided losses to Justin Gaethje, current champion, Charles Oliveira, and Beneil Dariush in the last 18 months.

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