By: Logan Helfferich
A rematch between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz is rumored to be in the making to take place at the upcoming milestone event, UFC 200. While the first fight brought in huge numbers and was exciting from start to finish, it made no sense as far as rankings and championships go. Diaz most frequently competes as a lightweight and McGregor is the featherweight champion, but the fight took place at welterweight. Even if the fight were to take place at lightweight, it still makes no sense. McGregor defeated long-time champion Jose Aldo to win his belt, but hasn’t defended it yet. The top four featherweight contenders (Jose Aldo, Frankie Edgar, Chad Mendes, Max Holloway) all have yet to be scheduled for a fight, but McGregor is looking at his second fight at a different weight class since winning the belt before any of the division’s top contenders have gotten a shot at the title. A rematch is pointless and McGregor should focus on defending his newly-acquired featherweight championship belt.
According to UFC insider, Ariel Helwani, the fight is being discussed to take place at welterweight again. If this is the case, Diaz will most likely win again, seeing as he took the fight on about a week’s notice last time and still pulled out the victory. McGregor is way too small for welterweight. Diaz is a small welterweight and he even looked noticeably bigger than McGregor the first time they fought. McGregor could win if he paces himself and keeps the fight standing. He was getting the better of the exchanges early on last time around. Regardless of who would win, it shouldn’t happen. Money talks though, and McGregor brings in more than any other UFC fighter right now. That being said, Diaz can bring in a lot of viewers on his own and doesn’t need McGregor to pump up his fights.
A wiser alternative to a pointless rematch would be to schedule them both to fight on the same card for separate championships. McGregor could defend his belt for the first time and Diaz could challenge Rafael Dos Anjos, the current lightweight champion. Dos Anjos has already defeated Diaz once, but following a victory over McGregor, Diaz would certainly draw in a huge crowd. If Diaz and McGregor both won their fights, it would set up a potential super-fight between two champions, which was the UFC’s original plan until Dos Anjos pulled out of the fight against McGregor with a broken foot. Dos Anjos’ injury is why Diaz was scheduled to fight McGregor in the first place, not to mention Diaz’s post-fight rant after defeating Michael Johnson where he told McGregor he was “taking everything I work for m*****f*****.” Diaz has stated that he understands why the rematch is being discussed because it’s a “real fight”, but real or not, it’s unfair to the featherweight contenders waiting to get their shot at McGregor’s title.
Georges St-Pierre’s coach has stated that they are interested in potentially returning to face the winner of the Diaz and McGregor rematch. If this happens, whoever fights St-Pierre will get smashed. Diaz would get dominated on the ground just like his brother did and McGregor is just simply way too small to go against St-Pierre. GSP would slam McGregor over and over and pound him with ground strikes.
Scheduling this rematch would be a huge mistake for the UFC. Dana White and the UFC have shown that they love McGregor and are willing to give him whatever he wants. Apparently, holding onto his title for as long as possible without actually defending it is what he wants right now. I’m sure Diaz will be happy to fight someone he’s already beaten for another huge amount of money like the first time, and McGregor can relax knowing that he can’t lose his belt even if he loses.
Frankie Edgar would likely beat McGregor because he has a much better ground game than him. Diaz used his grappling advantage over McGregor to win and Edgar has exceptionally good wrestling that he could use to get McGregor to the ground. Chad Mendes showed how to beat McGregor when he was dominating him on the ground before he gassed out and got knocked out, but Edgar is known for his cardio and McGregor showed that his own cardio could use some work against Diaz.
If the UFC want UFC 200 to be their biggest event ever, they should schedule as many championship fights as possible because those are what get the most attention. The first ever card with three championship fights would surely draw a gigantic crowd and get a lot of people talking. McGregor can defend his belt against Frankie Edgar, Dos Anjos can defend his against Diaz, and Miesha Tate could defend her new belt for the first time against her bitter rival and fan-favorite, Ronda Rousey. Arguably the three most talked about UFC fighters in the world right now (McGregor, Diaz, Rousey), all fighting for championships. Now that makes sense.