Nearly five years since their last fight, UFC stars Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz of Stockton are still battling, even if their epic showdowns in the octagon have been traded in for the sniping of persistent verbal jousts.
Their latest battle has each of these two veteran fighters subtly accusing each other of being steroid users via potshots taken on social media. Diaz is currently training for his next bout, a welterweight fight against Leon Edwards at UFC 262, slated to take place on May 15, 2021 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. A check on the latest UFC betting odds show Diaz to be a +315 underdog against Edwards, who is listed as the -425 favorite.
The backbiting of each other by the two UFC veterans has followers of the promotion speculating that it could all be the beginning of a build up toward a potential third fight inside the cage between Diaz and McGregor.
Both Diaz-McGregor fights were both awarded Fight of the Night recognition from the UFC. At UFC 196 on March 5th, 2016, Diaz was a last-minute replacement for the injured Rafael dos Anjos, taking the fight against McGregor on 11 days notice. Without enough time to cut weight to make the flyweight class for which the bout was originally scheduled, the fight was instead set for welterweight (170 pounds). Diaz stunned McGregor, winning the fight via submission in the second round, the ninth submission victory of his career. He was awarded a bonus for Performance of the Night.
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The Diaz-McGregor rematch was set for UFC 202 on August 20th, 2016. They again fought as welterweights and this time, McGregor earned a majority decision victory.
Two judges scored it 48-47 McGregor, while the third had it as a 47-47 draw, earning the Irish fighter the majority decision. The fight set a UFC pay-per-view sales record (since broken).
Immediately after that fight, both fighters were interviewed by Joe Rogan and each stated their willingness to fight a third time.
“All I know is it’s 1-1,” McGregor said at the time. “Regroup. We’ll do it again, this time at 155 pounds. I came up to 170, faced the bigger man and overcame my adversity.
“Now you want this trilogy, it happens on my terms. Come back down to 155. We’ll do it.”
Diaz was also down with the trilogy idea. “I thought I won that fight,” Diaz said. “Good job, Conor, but we are going for three. For real.”
Five years later, could it really be happening?
Still Some Business To Get Done
Before they could potentially complete their trilogy, both Diaz and McGregor have other fights in front of them that they must get through. McGregor, 32, is expected to face a rematch with Dustin Poirier. Poirier stunned all of MMA when he recorded a second-round knockout victory over McGregor at UFC 257.
Meanwhile, Diaz, 36, must contend with his upcoming fight against Edwards. As the co-main event, they are going to make UFC history. Theirs will be the first non-title bout to serve as a co-main event on a UFC card which will be contested over five rounds.
Edwards is the No. 3-ranked welterweight contender in UFC. He hasn’t lost a fight since 2015, when he was beaten by current welterweight world champion Kamaru Usman.
Paul Wants Diaz, McGregor
YouTube influencer turned pro boxer Jake Paul wants Diaz to step into the ring and face him.
“It’s two massive names, and it would be a massive pay-per-view, and then when they see me obliterate him, they’re jaws are going to be dropped – they’re not going to know how to react,” Paul told ESPN. “And at that moment in time, I’ll be undeniable to fight Conor McGregor, because I beat the guy that beat you, Conor.
“And the Jake Paul vs. Conor fight is a massive fight.”
Is There Enough Left In The Tank?
While both of these veteran fighters still talk a good game, is there enough left in each of their respective tanks to make a potential third fight between Dias and McGregor as legendary as the first two meetings?
McGregor is 2-2 over his last four bouts inside the octagon and just 3-2 since beating Diaz. As for Diaz, he’s fought only twice in five years since losing to McGregor. He’s an unimpressive 4-5 over his past nine times inside the cage.
It’s been a year-and-a-half since his last fight, a loss to Jorge Masvidal. The fight was stopped after the third round when the cage-side physician determined a cut over Diaz’s right eye rendered him unable to continue.