Dana White separates Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz at the recent UFC 196 weigh-ins. Raymond Spencer/INPHO
ruffled feathers

Dana White: Featherweight defence next for McGregor after Diaz rematch

The UFC president says the featherweight champion is heading back to 145lbs “win, lose or draw”.

UFC PRESIDENT DANA White has insisted that Conor McGregor will finally defend is featherweight title once his second meeting with Nate Diaz is out of the way.

The organisation confirmed last night that McGregor will get an opportunity to avenge his recent submission loss to Diaz when the pair clash in a rematch in a welterweight main event at UFC 200, which will take place in Las Vegas on 9 July.

In the immediate aftermath of his defeat to Diaz earlier this month at UFC 196, McGregor seemed set to return to the 145lbs division to defend the title he won at the expense of Jose Aldo. However, that inaugural defence has now been postponed.

“Well, after the fight, Lorenzo [Fertitta, UFC CEO] and I went up to Conor’s house that he was renting here in Las Vegas and started talking about what he was thinking and what’s next. He was obsessed — obsessed! — with fighting Nate Diaz again,” said Dana White during an interview on ESPN’s SportsCenter.

Obviously Lorenzo and I tried to argue with him and say let’s go back down to 145 [pounds] and defend your title or, if he really wanted the Diaz fight that bad, do it at 155. He wants to fight at 170. Even his coach, [John] Kavanagh, tried to get him to get off this rematch and off the 170lbs fight. But it’s what he wanted.”

As a result, UFC 200 will host a bizarre scenario whereby Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar will fight for an interim UFC featherweight title on the same night that the reigning featherweight champion competes in another division.

According to Dana White, McGregor — who has a long history of contending with late injury withdrawals by his opponents — has earned the right to hold on to his belt, despite being involved in back-to-back fights in a separate weight-class.

“Listen, Conor McGregor is a guy who has had fights fall out seven days before he was supposed to defend his title, and he steps up and he takes on all comers. The guy fights anybody, anywhere, anytime. He has stepped up at late notice and done these things,” White said.

“He wants this Nate Diaz fight, we’ll give it to him. We’ll make Frankie and Jose the interim title [fight] and whoever wins that fight will then fight Conor McGregor for the true 145lbs title.”

White added: “Win, lose or draw in this fight against Nate Diaz, he will go in and he will fight either Jose or Frankie — whoever wins at [UFC] 200.”

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