Saturday 21 July 2018

Despite 'retirement' talk, Conor McGregor-Nate Diaz rematch remains likeliest UFC 200 main event

Conor McGregor wanted another crack at Nate Diaz
Conor McGregor wanted another crack at Nate Diaz

James Edwards

The MMA beat is never quiet for news or controversy but the shocking events yesterday really took things to a whole new level. Conor McGregor's infamous tweet 'I have decided to retire young. Thanks for the cheese. Catch ya's later' has been retweeted over 142,000 times making it the most shared tweet by a sportsperson this calendar year, even beating Kobe Bryant's retirement poem that got +130,000.

What followed was a crazy series of events with both fans and media in total confusion until UFC president Dana White confirmed to ESPN Sports Centre that the Irishman had indeed been removed from the main event of UFC 200 and that his rematch with Nate Diaz was off. Rumours are doing that rounds that it was to do with money, the lack of compassion shown by the UFC for the tragic events in Dublin last weekend with the death of Joao Carvalho, overbearing media requirements etc, but it's really likely to be myriad of things and probably the combination of them all that had both parties say enough is enough.

For the UFC, their short term problem and focus will be on repairing the damage this set of events has done to their marquee event UFC 200. McGregor is without doubt, the biggest star in the company and without him they are lacking an X-factor that will make this event stand out the way it should do.

There are, however, options available to them. Nate Diaz as far we know will remain on the card and the UFC could possibly match him up with welterweight champion Robbie Lawler given he also isn't matched up right now.

Convincing George St-Pierre to return is also an option and he would bring the star power at least on the level of McGregor. Should GSP return the UFC could match him up with Nate Diaz given his history with the Diaz brothers or they could give him an immediate title match against the aforementioned Lawler with the view that he never lost the title when he vacated it back in 2014.

Other options do exist, Holm vs Rousey II or Cormier vs Jones II are potentially there, but both of those are very unlikely and in the case of Jones vs Cormier there a lot of pieces to a very complicated jigsaw that would have to fall in to place with Jones fighting this weekend and Cormier's injury rehab touch and go for July.

That, of course, leaves the all too obvious option that is still one of the most likely - Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz II headlines UFC 200. The UFC don't often, if ever, go back on their word but this is a special circumstance and once cooler heads prevail, it wouldn't be unfathomable to think that differences will be put aside for what would be the biggest payday for both McGregor and the UFC ever.

For the moment, all we can only sit back and watch to see how it all plays out. No doubt further updates will be provided shortly.

Independent News Service

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