Though there has been a lot of internet chatter about a potential third Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz fight, UFC president Dana White shot that down. He does, however, have a bead on McGregor’s next opponent.
Recent social media barbs have been lobbed between McGregor and interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson. It appears there is good reason for that. White is zeroing in on the two meeting at UFC 219 at the end of the year to unify Ferguson’s interim belt with McGregor’s lightweight title.
White, on the Pardon My Take podcast on Sunday, again shot down the idea that a third fight with Diaz was next for the Irishman.
“No, that’s not true,” White said. “Not true. It has literally not even been talked about.”
Although White indicated that he would love to have McGregor fight Ferguson, or anyone really, at Croke Park stadium in Ireland, that’s not likely to happen anytime soon. There are currently too many obstacles in the way to make a fight at Croke Park work when the event has to reach a global audience, not just fight fans in Dublin.
White confirmed that a more likely scenario would be for McGregor to defend against Ferguson in Las Vegas, likely on Dec. 30 at UFC 219.
“(Croke Parke) sounds great, but it’s probably going to be Tony Ferguson in Las Vegas,” White said. “But we do want to do Croke Park. The reason we haven’t done Croke Park with Conor is because we can’t get it done over there. They have a curfew on what time you got to be out of there and noise ordinances.”
White has been targeting McGregor vs. Ferguson since Ferguson defeated Kevin Lee at UFC 216 recently. “El Cucuy” was on point in the fight, finishing the rising star via submission late in the third round. Aside from capturing the interim championship, Ferguson increased his winning streak to 10 consecutive bouts.
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With Khabib Nurmagomedov having been sidelined for several months, there is really no other lightweight fight that makes sense. And after McGregor and Ferguson’s recent social media volleys at one another, the fan excitement for the fight is starting to build.
It’s not yet official, but White certainly sounded as if it is the fight to be made, and McGregor has been fairly consistent in saying he’d like to fight again before 2017 closes out.