a blog by La Kifo
Saturday night was the kind of bounce back night the UFC needed after a relatively quiet 201 event and all the chaos that surrounded the 200 card.
UFC 196, March 5th, 2016. Two big stars fell, Holly Holm lost her bantamweight belt to Miesha Tate and Conor McGregor was stopped via rear naked choke in the second round of his fight with Nate Diaz.
Holly Holm is a new star, the only women to defeat Ronda Rousey, and her defeat was not nearly as impactful as the one Conor McGregor suffered. McGregor is the main attraction, he's not the bearded lady, the incredible jointless man, or the old mystical phsycic. Conor McGregor is the Elephant man, when he shows up everyone watches.
McGregor and the UFC both needed a win at 202. McGregor needed his credibility, his swager back while the UFC needed its bone bruising star. Ever since McGregor gained momentum on his glorious run in the UFC, people have been tearing him down. But the problem is, he's legit. The Irishmen can fight and anyone denying him of that doesn't know what they are talking about. McGregor has to easily be a top 5 pound for pound fighter in the UFC.
Now that Diaz v. McGregor II is over, the UFC can do some many different things with Conor. Most likely, he will go back down to featherweight to defend his title against Jose Aldo. I don't see why this wouldn't happen, featherweight was where it all started for McGregor, it theoritically provides McGregor with the best fight matchups. Once he's done with Aldo and the featherweight division, win or lose, McGregor could then go to lightweight or all the way back up to welterweight. At lightweight he would have champion Eddie Alvarez eagerly waiting. Alvarez has already expressed sentiment to facing the winner of Saturdays matchup. Welterweight seems unlikely, his two fights at 170 were against Diaz whose true division is lightweight (155). The final piece in solving what Conor will do next is Diaz v. McGregor III. Both fighters after the decision told Joe Rogan, while still inside the octagon, they wanted the third fight. Will they complete the trilogy after Conors title defense at 145, or will he fight Alvarez and Aldo before the talks between team Diaz and team McGregor come into place? I have no fucking clue. It wouldn't make sense to me, if after his obligation to fight Aldo was over, he would run straight back into the spider web that is Nate Diaz. I don't think the UFC wants that, niether Conor, nor Nate wants it. The two have already fought twice this year. They all need time to let everyone cool down, maybe even forget a little bit about the two. I do not want to see a third McGregor, Diaz fight, one where they are respectful and harbor not an ounce of jealously or hatred toward the other. Judging from the way they embraced each other post fight on Saturday, that is looking like the future of Conors and Nates relationship. At the same time, don't put too much credence on immediate post fight pleasantries.
I say let McGregor run through anyone who challenges him at 145, then carefully pick at least one opponent at 155, before fighting either Alvarez or Diaz. Idealy, the UFC would want McGregor as the two division champion and to have Nate Diaz challenge McGregor for the lightweight belt, after he has taken it from Eddie Alvarez. That is fantasy land though, reality is never as clean, we will just have to wait and see for ourselves.
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