With their camps trading verbal shots, odds for a potential trilogy fight between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz are back on the board.
Coming off the spectacle that was his sojourn into boxing, McGregor is listed as a -250 favorite against the +190 underdog Diaz at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. One scenario that McGregor coach John Kavanagh has ruminated about involves the two fighting on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2018.
The price on McGregor, aka “The Notorious One,” is markedly different from his lines in both bouts against Diaz in 2016.
The first time around, at UFC 196 in March 2016, McGregor was listed at -400 to -450 before losing to Diaz by submission on a rear naked choke in the second round, which is his only defeat in 10 career UFC fights. It’s worth remembering that the betting line belied the fact that McGregor came up to Diaz’s weight class, welterweight, in order to allow Diaz to take the fight on short notice.
For the rematch in August 2016, a better-prepared McGregor entered the Octagon at -130 to -150 before winning a majority decision after he and Diaz went the full five rounds.,
It’s notable that Kavanagh has said the trilogy fight should be a lightweight matchup. Diaz has not fought in the 155-pound division since 2015, when he defeated Michael Johnson (who is currently No. 9 in the lightweight rankings).
Cutting weight could drastically reduce the strength advantage he had against McGregor in their first fight, while McGregor could be better equipped to avoid gassing in the middle rounds like he did in that five-round fight.
There are a lot of moving parts for the UFC to put together in coordinating the fight. While the trilogy bout would have the curiosity factor that draws casual fans, it would mean Diaz would jump the line ahead of the winner of the interim lightweight title fight between Kevin Lee and Tony Ferguson at UFC 216 on October 7.
In any event, after taking time away from the Octagon to cash in by boxing against Floyd Mayweather, McGregor will need to do something attention-getting for his return to MMA.