If UFC president Dana White is to be believed, rumors that Conor McGregor will return to the Octagon to fight Nate Diaz in a trilogy fight at UFC 219 on December 30th are false.
“Not true AT ALL,” White told a fan on Twitter when asked about the speculation.
McGregor himself had initially teased the possibility of making a late 2017 appearance in the UFC while he was promoting his boxing match with Floyd Mayweather in the summer, and he apparently told some of his closest confidants the same thing.
“Get ready, we’ll be back in the cage in December,” McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh claimed the superstar had told him back in June, while around the same time period, UFC President Dana White was indicating that ‘The Notorious’ had informed him of his intention to fight Mayweather and then fight Khabib Nurmagomedov soon afterwards.
However, closer to fight night back in August, McGregor did appear to be changing his tune slightly and had suggested it was less likely that he’d fight again in 2017, meaning that he’d have gone a full calender year without fighting in the UFC, despite still being their lightweight champion.
If so, that makes sense as McGregor certainly doesn’t need to rush back into the Octagon for financial reasons after making an astronomical amount of money for his fight with Mayweather.
After having almost solely focused on his boxing skills this year, it would also be beneficial for him to take extra time out to get back into the groove as far as his all-round mixed martial arts game goes before taking his next fight.
When it does eventually happen though, the trilogy fight with Diaz makes the most sense from his perspective as it will be the biggest draw, and presents a known quantity and realistic possibility of emerging with a victory, whereas a fight with the likes of Khabib Nurmagomedov or Tony Ferguson would be a bigger risk, and likely for a lesser return.
Still, McGregor generally doesn’t shy away from daunting challenges and sometimes moves in mysterious ways, while White has been known to deny things that have later been proven to be true, so it would be wise not to completely rule out the possibility that the Irishman could yet set foot in the Octagon again before the year is over.
We should be able to get a better estimation of whether this is possible or not on September 30th when McGregor is scheduled to do another ‘Evening With…’ special in front of a live audience in London.