Conor McGregor camp plans his UFC return, and their choice of opponent is sure to make the fight a big hit

The Irishman is set to take a hiatus for the remainder of 2017 before his return to UFC

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 September, 2017, 10:15am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 September, 2017, 9:46pm

Conor McGregor wants to follow up his boxing debut defeat to Floyd Mayweather Jnr by completing the trilogy in his series of bouts with long-time UFC nemesis Nate Diaz, according to the Irishman’s coach.

John Kavanagh wrote in Irish publication that his camp prefers a third instalment with California-native Diaz for the UFC lightweight champion’s next fight, but added that he doesn’t foresee it happening until 2018.

A McGregor-Diaz decider (they currently stand at 1-1 in the head-to-head) would be a sure-fire blockbuster occasion for UFC and arguably represents one of the easier options out there for the Irishman as he returns to the octagon after a hugely successful sortie into the world of boxing.

Diaz (19-11) hasn’t fought since the second bout with McGregor in August 2016 and at that time suggested the Irishman was the only opponent he would consider returning for.

The 32-year-old reignited the long-running war of words with “The Notorious One” earlier this week by suggesting on social media that the Irishman failed to learn any lessons from his previous defeats and that “he punched himself out the same way he lost in the UFC” during his loss to Mayweather.

Kavanagh suggested his charge would take a hiatus for the remainder of 2017, the most financially successful of his career, before planning his return.

“It’s probably a little late in the day to realistically expect another fight before the end of the year,” Kavanagh wrote. “Even after this hiatus is over, a lot goes into planning and execution of a training camp at our level.

“I find it hard to envisage another fight in 2017.”

Mayweather-McGregor refunds will be provided by UFC after technical issues, says Dana White

Kavangah’s comments are at odds with those of UFC president Dana White who said after the Mayweather fight that McGregor planned to fight again this year. The UFC has a December 30 card booked in Las Vegas.

McGregor is yet to defend the lightweight strap he won when he defeated Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in November of last year. However, he has spoken openly about his desire to complete the trilogy against Diaz, who shocked the MMA world when he submitted the Irishman in their first fight in March 2016. Diaz took that fight on just a few weeks’ notice.

McGregor has stated their third fight must take place at 155 pounds, where it is thought he would enjoy an advantage. The first two were fought at 170 pounds.