Thursday 8 December 2016

'Obsessed' McGregor to defy UFC in Diaz rematch

Published 01/04/2016 | 02:30

Conor McGregor's success has fuelled a major rise in the popularity of mixed martial arts in this country.
Conor McGregor's success has fuelled a major rise in the popularity of mixed martial arts in this country.

UFC president Dana White has revealed that widespread attempts to persuade Conor McGregor not to push for a rematch with Nate Diaz at UFC 200 failed - despite his own coach joining the chorus of voices trying to change his focus from facing the only man to beat him in the Octagon.

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The UFC confirmed on Wednesday night that McGregor and Diaz will face each other once again on July 9, just three months after Diaz claimed a shock second round victory via submission at UFC 196 to hand McGregor his first loss with the company.

White revealed that he tried to talk McGregor into dropping back down to featherweight to defend the championship he still holds, or at least push for the Diaz rematch to be at the lightweight limit of 155lbs. White was not the only voice in opposition to McGregor's demands, as UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta was also against the Diaz rematch as well as the Dublin fighter's coach John Kavanagh.

"Lorenzo and I went up to Conor's house that he's renting here in Las Vegas and started talking about what are you thinking, what's next?" White said.

"And he was obsessed - obsessed - with fighting Nate Diaz again. Obviously, Lorenzo and I tried to argue with him and say, 'Let's go back down to [1]45 and defend your title, or if you really want the Diaz fight that bad, do it at [1]55.'

"But he wants to fight at 170. Even his coach, Kavanagh, tried to get him to get off this rematch and off the 170-pound fight but it's what he wanted. And he's going to get it."

Options for McGregor included a featherweight rematch against Jose Aldo - the man he beat at UFC 193 to win the championship in just 13 seconds - or a first encounter against the in-form Frankie Edgar.

However, it's been confirmed that Aldo and Edgar will fight on the same night at UFC 200.

Irish Independent

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