If you haven’t heard, Conor McGregor redeemed himself defeating Nate Diaz by majority decision Saturday night at UFC 202. In his post fight interview with Joe Rogan, McGregor hinted at a trilogy fight with Diaz at 155 pounds. The fan in me is going to hate what I am about to write next but I don’t want a trilogy fight, at least not right away.
If McGregor and Diaz both go down to 155 lbs following this epic five round war, there are a ton of great matchups for both of them. Donald Cerrone called out champ Eddie Alvarez following his TKO win over Rick Story. He may have unfinished business with Alvarez, but if you ask Cerrone tomorrow which fight he would rather have at 155, my guess is he wants to ring his lady and tell her it is red panty night. Khabib Nurmagomedov is already the number one challenger and despite long layoffs due to injury, he should likely get a crack at the belt before Cerrone. The winner of this fight would make perfect sense for McGregor. Nate probably doesn’t deserve a title shot coming off a loss nor does he likely care if he gets one. I think another Cerrone fight or match up with Anthony Pettis would make a lot of sense.
As the saying goes, a high tide raises all boats. The UFC is in a position to maximize the value of McGregor and Diaz to drive up the value of other top fighters in this division. Matching these two up with other fighters vying for a shot at the title will help everyone. As these guys face one another their following will grow and bring more eyeballs to future PPV especially when facing one another.
If McGregor and Diaz only face each other the rest of their career, I would buy the fight every time. What I really want is others fighters to emerge that I care enough about to say the same thing. It requires characters like McGregor and Diaz that fans either love or love to hate to get them to rally behind fighters that don’t have a large following outside of the core MMA fans.
I hope the new UFC brass can identify the opportunity these two fighters have created and promote a series of fights that can help grow the sport even more.