The Notorious Conor McGregor is set to make his long-awaited return to the octagon on January 18th and chatter from his end has picked up surrounding the UFC 244 ‘BMF’ title between Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal. Diaz and McGregor are old adversaries dating back to their pair of epic showdowns that (at the time) set UFC PPV records.
The stakes are incredibly high heading into the fight for both Diaz and Masvidal as a win would put them in a position to challenge for the welterweight belt while also setting up a potential super-fight with McGregor himself. UFC 244 takes place Saturday, November 2 at Madison Square Garden. It will air as a pay-per-view on ESPN+.
Conor McGregor Looking at Winner of Diaz-Masvidal
Though almost certainly taking a warm-up fight in his return on the 18th, McGregor has mentioned that he is keeping an eye on the winner of Diaz-Masvidal for his second fight in 2020. McGregor laid out his comprehensive plan to treat 2020 like a season and fight three times in the calendar year.
Diaz and McGregor have notably locked horns twice before, though Masvidal and McGregor have yet to face off. McGregor, a natural featherweight, did the bulk of his damage two weight classes below where Diaz and Masvidal have done their best work. While McGregor has never been afraid of the challenge – he fought Diaz twice at welterweight – the step up in size poses a serious hurdle for McGregor to overcome.
With a potential third fight featuring a rematch with current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov on the horizon, McGregor seems to have an extremely ambitious trio of return fights set in his sights with a major determining factor being the outcome of Diaz-Masvidal at UFC 244.
Who Will Conor McGregor Fight in the Meantime?
In the meantime, McGregor looks to be eyeing a possible fight with Donald Cerrone to get himself ready for the possibility of a Diaz-Masvidal winner. Both McGregor and Cerrone have been posting vague hints to Instagram for months now, with Cerrone going as far as to post a picture to Instagram in February alluding to a fight (that never happened) on July 6th.
While rumors of McGregor-Cerrone have been in the works for some time, another realistic possibility seems to be the heavy-handed Justin Gaethje. Gaethje is coming off a pair of losses to Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier. The former WSOF Lightweight Champion has some high-level wrestling and looks to pose a more difficult stylistic matchup for McGregor compared to Cerrone. However, Gaethje has been relentlessly pursuing McGregor for a fight in recent months and seems determined to try and make it happen.
Conor McGregor Claims to have Helped Design the ‘BMF’ Belt
While not fighting for the ‘BMF’ belt, McGregor, the UFC’s reigning King of trash talk, seemed to confirm that the UFC went to him for the final say in designing it.
“I designed that ‘Bad Mother Fucker’ belt,” McGregor told MMA Junkie, “I actually designed that. I signed off on the design of how they are creating that belt. So most certainly that belt was brought into fruition, brought to life because of me: the real Bad Mother ******.”
This only adds fuel to the fire of a potential showdown between McGregor and the winner of the ‘BMF’ belt. While the UFC has repeatedly said this is a one-off stunt, it may be tough to turn down the man who was the promotion’s biggest draw fewer than two years ago – that is if McGregor even wants to try and win the belt he supposedly helped to create.
UFC 244 airs November 2 at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+. You can order it here.
What Happened in Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz 1?
Diaz and McGregor was never supposed to happen. Instead, McGregor was initially set to take on Rafael Dos Anjos for the lightweight belt. Dos Anjos was forced to pull out of the fight with a foot injury and Diaz, then the 10th ranked lightweight challenger, was the only fighter willing to take on McGregor with such short notice.
Making matters more interesting, McGregor allowed the fight to go down at 170 pounds in part because it would have been nearly impossible for Diaz – who fights at both lightweight and welterweight – to safely make the cut to 155 pounds on such short notice. While McGregor still came in as the heavy betting favorite, Diaz used his massive size advantage and legendary chin to weather an early onslaught of ferocious McGregor shots before turning the tides and battering McGregor – who was exhausted by the end of the second round.
The fight was considered an instant classic in large part due to Diaz’s ability to take an unbelievable amount of punishment and continue coming forward at McGregor. Handing McGregor his first loss in the UFC, an immediate rematch between the two was almost a foregone conclusion as soon as the first fight ended.
Did Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz 2 Live up to the Hype?
In the second McGregor-Diaz scrap, McGregor came out with a much more disciplined gameplan in order to deal with Diaz’s considerable size advantage. Working well to avoid Diaz’s strong clinch game and groundwork, McGregor was mostly able to keep the fight on the feet and essentially box Diaz, inflicting heavy damage to both eyes and his front leg in the first two rounds.
Diaz is an extremely accomplished boxer in his own right and while McGregor dominated the early going, he tired towards the end of the second round and Diaz smelled blood. The fight turned into an incredibly exciting back and forth war that saw unprecedented levels of heart on both ends. McGregor dug deep to keep Diaz at bay with nothing n the tank while Diaz continued to come forward and hurt McGregor despite the tremendous damage done to both his face and lead leg.
McGregor wound up coming away with an extremely tight majority decision victory over Diaz, marking the last time either man would fight (at least in the octagon) for nearly two years. The men were awarded a second consecutive “Fight of the Night” award for their effort and the fight would go down as UFC.com’s second best fight of 2016.