Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz will be headlining UFC 200 in the much-anticipated rematch on July 9 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
According to Sports Illustrated, the announcement was made Wednesday night during UFC Tonight. It was also revealed that Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo will be fighting in hopes of obtaining the interim featherweight title.
Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz II officially to headline UFC 200.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) March 30, 2016
If you will recall, Diaz beat McGregor earlier this month at UFC 196 with a second round submission, marking McGregor’s first ever UFC loss. McGregor vs. Diaz took place in welterweight after McGregor’s original opponent Rafael dos Anjos pulled out of the card at the last minute due to an injury.
Although McGregor had initially planned on going back to fight in featherweight, where he currently holds the title, his focus is now on the rematch with Diaz. According to UFC President Dana White, Conor was obsessed with getting the opportunity to take on Nate again.
“After the fight, Lorenzo (Fertitta) and I went up to Conor’s house that he was renting here in Las Vegas and started talking about what are you thinking, what’s next and he was obsessed — obsessed with fighting Nate Diaz again,” White said, while speaking on SportsCenter Wednesday night.
— FSLive: #JayAndDan (@foxsportslive) March 30, 2016
White tried multiple times to convince McGregor to defend his featherweight title, but he wanted no part in that, and couldn’t see past a rematch with Diaz. Conor also insists that the rematch be fought at 170 pounds, just like their original bout at UFC 196.
“Obviously, Lorenzo and I tried to argue with him and say ‘let’s go back down to 145 an defend your title’ or if you really want the Diaz fight that bad, do it at 155. He wants the fight at 170,” White said. “Even his coach, coach (John) Kavanagh tried to get him off this rematch and off the 170 pound fight, but it’s what he wanted.”
White revealed that Diaz was equally ready to take on McGregor again, and didn’t hesitate when offered the fight.
There’s plenty to love about Diaz-McGregor II at #UFC200.
— ESPN (@espn) March 31, 2016
“He wants to do it again, let’s do it again,” White said. “Nate was obviously up for the fight.”
Along with McGregor and Diaz, Edgar and Jose Aldo will also be facing off to determine who will hold the interim featherweight title while Conor is fighting at a higher weight level. Although Edgar wanted to take on McGregor for the main event, McGregor was persistent in getting a rematch with Diaz, and the UFC ultimately succumbed to his requests.
According to the Los Angeles Times, whether McGregor wins, loses, or draws, he will have to go back to featherweight and defend his title against the Edgar-Aldo winner, or else they become the actual title holder.
“I still want to fight for the real title, and I feel if I get this, I can’t be denied the next time out,” Edgar said.
— Frankie Edgar (@FrankieEdgar) March 31, 2016
“I get that he wants the revenge,” he said of McGregor. “It doesn’t make sense for common fans to follow along. I think they wonder, ‘Why are you going back [to 170 pounds] instead of the title shot?’ He’s also a smart guy. He knows the longer he can keep that 145-pound belt, the better. But eventually, he’s going to have to give it up.”
Even though Edgar won’t get to take on McGregor in July, he calls the fight with Jose Aldo his “second-best option.”
What do you think about the Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz rematch? Do you think Conor is making a mistake by not immediately going back to the 145 weight class? Leave your comments below.
[Photo by Rey Del Rio / Stringer/ Getty Images]