Unless you’re living under a rock, you may have heard on Wednesday that Conor McGregor will once again face Nathan Diaz at UFC 200 this July. The brash Irishman is currently the featherweight champion and due to his need to entertain Diaz at welterweight, it has spawned a featherweight co-main event for the interim title between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar.
On paper, these look like exciting fights and for the most part they are. Having McGregor seek redemption against Diaz will produce some good pre-fight encounters with the Stockton native, the latter having a little more fire following his UFC 196 win over “The Notorious” earlier this month.
However, not everyone is congratulating the Ultimate Fighting Championship on their recent matchmaking prowess. Some feel the main and co-main event epitomizes the promotion’s intent to deliver money-making fights and not bouts that make sense. It’s possible that the Irishman still has sway with the UFC even in the wake of his defeat to Diaz and is really only chomping at the bit to prove a point – that he can compete and win at welterweight.
McGregor’s one single act to entertain welterweight again has already brought into question the integrity of the UFC and its ability to control their current champions. Since he defeated Jose Aldo at UFC 194 last December, he’s yet to defend the title and is currently healthy enough to do so.
McGregor has made clear on many occasions that making money stands front and center and the Diaz match mirrors those statements – which explains why the 145-pound belt is gathering dust. Never before in the promotion’s history has there been an interim title fight where the champion is 100% healthy and ready to fight, but here we are, just over three months from UFC 200 with the champion on the same card as Aldo and Edgar.
The event will no doubt be a massive and profitable success for the UFC and that’s really the avenue they want to take, they’re a business after all. How the promotion schedules their fights has drastically changed ever since mixed martial arts become more prominent, leaving title challengers in limbo, fighters jumping divisions more regularly and other sports stars interested in taking up mixed martial arts.
In conclusion, UFC 200 will have its haters but the majority of fans will still watch the fights, but the changes made by one man hailing from Dublin are clear to see, the UFC is changing, and it might not be for the better.
UFC 200 takes place on July 9th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.