UFC president, Dana White has insisted that he would be “shocked” if a trilogy rubber match between former two-weight champion, Conor McGregor, and Stockton veteran, Nate Diaz failed to ever come to fruition – claiming he still plans to book that fight in the future.
Approaching six years since their first showdown, McGregor, a former undisputed featherweight and lightweight champion, suffered his first promotional loss against Diaz in a short notice welterweight main event at UFC 196 in March 2016, submitting to a second round rear-naked choke in an impromptu showdown.
In August of that year, McGregor managed to avenge his submission loss to the Californian fan favorite in another main event clash at UFC 202, landing a close majority decision victory at the welterweight limit once again, before eventually adding the lightweight title to his mantle in November with a second round knockout win over Eddie Alvarez.
In the time since, both McGregor and Diaz have openly flirted with a third fight between the two, however, Diaz, in particular, has insisted McGregor must first return to the winner’s enclosure before securing a trilogy bout, and has switched focus to would-be common-foe, former interim lightweight champion, Dustin Poirier.
Following Poirier’s UFC 269 loss to Charles Oliveira in December, Diaz welcomed a reworked pairing with the Lafayette native, however, despite interest from both parties, a pairing has failed to materialise.
Reports have suggested that the promotion would be willing to book Diaz vs. Poirier next, however, they would require Diaz, who retains just a single fight on his current Octagon deal, to re-up with the promotion first, with the view to booking a rubber match with McGregor.
Talking on the status of a match between Poirier and Diaz ahead of UFC 272, UFC leader, White insisted the organization were still working on the fight, and maintained he would be shocked if McGregor did not fight Diaz for a third time in the future.
“We’re still working on (Dustin Poirier vs. Nate Diaz), that fight’s not done yet,” Dana White told TMZ. “But yeah, I wouldn’t count out Conor (McGregor)-Nate (Diaz) 3. I’d be shocked if that fight didn’t happen again.” (Transcribed by MMA Fighting)
Responding to White soon thereafter, Diaz claimed that a “fragile” McGregor would first need to return to winning ways before securing a third fight with him.
“Conor’s (McGregor) gonna have to get some wins and prove he’s not so fragile first..,” Nate Diaz tweeted.
For McGregor, the 33-year-old most recently headlined UFC 264 back in July in a first round doctor’s stoppage TKO loss to Poirier in a trilogy rubber match, suffering a fractured fibula resulting in his loss. McGregor has insisted that he would be fit to return to sparring and training by April, ahead of a July return, however, that timeframe appears to be less than conservative.