We’re only a few weeks detached from the rollercoaster that was UFC 196 and already the Ultimate Fighting Championship plans to feed us a second helping.
According to reports from multiple online sources, the promotion plans to pit Conor McGregor against Nate Diaz once again at UFC 200 this July. It makes very little sense that this bout is even being considered and the mixed martial arts community isn’t warming to the possible rematch, confused by McGregor’s current status as featherweight champion and why a non-title contest could headline one of the promotion’s biggest events.
Since McGregor defeated Jose Aldo at UFC 194 this past December, the 145-pound division has kicked up a storm. The likes of Frankie Edgar, Charles Oliveria, and other prominent featherweights have also made their feelings towards the Irishman and his belt pretty clear. The division is teeming with contenders for the title and the sudden reluctance by McGregor to defend it shows his solid hold over the division.
No one is suffering from this more than Frankie Edgar. The former lightweight champion has been assured on multiple occasions by the UFC that he would be next to face McGregor, only to see it drift away due to the promotion’s divided ambitions. So in demand, McGregor may indeed have a hold over the UFC brass and where they want him to fight next. Maybe a drop back to featherweight was planned for McGregor but he deemed a rematch with Diaz more beneficial to his career and wanted a chance to reclaim some lost pride.
This leaves the featherweight division in limbo, fighters working towards a title shot they may never get if McGregor continues to entertain other weight divisions. Yes, you could have an interim title fight to lower the pitchforks and torches, but sanctioning such a fight with a healthy champion is utterly ridiculous and would only produce a scathing response from UFC fans.
Taking the popularity of both fighters into consideration, the bout doesn’t make sense with Diaz already defeating McGregor at UFC 196. The Stockton native has become a superstar since submitting “The Notorious” and his stock with his employers is now reaching new heights. While McGregor lost, he’s still one of the promotion’s biggest money makers alongside Ronda Rousey. For either he or Diaz to loss would prove very unprofitable for the UFC and its future.
There’s many different avenues the UFC could still take, with no official announcement from the promotion as of yet. McGregor could entertain the idea of fighting Rafael dos Anjos after their planned UFC 196 was marred by injury. Let’s not discount Diaz, even he could face the Brazilian and try avenge his previous loss to the champion.
With a number of attractive options on the table for both fighters, it’s hard to understand how the UFC have settled on a rematch between the two dangerous strikers at the end of it all. However, here we are, under four months away from UFC 200 and a possible main event that may have star power but makes very little sense.
UFC 200 takes place on July 9th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Heavyweights Cain Velasquez and Travis Browne are expected to clash at the event, as are middleweights Gegard Mousasi and Derek Brunson.