The MMA community is up in arms after the announcement that Conor McGregor will fight Nate Diaz again at UFC 200 in July. The rematch comes after Diaz defeated McGregor, the UFC’s wonder boy, with a rear-naked choke in the second-round at UFC 196. With McGregor and Diaz slated to fight again, it means that the featherweight belt will be on hold indefinitely, and the likes of Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo will have to wait to get a shot at King McGregor. While a disappointment for those two, it should come as no surprise that Dana White is more concerned with the business of making money, and for now that means rallying around the fighter that brings in the most potential revenue.
By forgoing the requests of Edgar and Aldo, White ensures that McGregor can retain his title as featherweight champion for as long as possible. The reality is that as long as The Notorious has bragging rights over one division he remains marketable; all of the Irishman’s shit talking and grandstanding can be backed up as long as he has a belt around his waist. To give us a little insight as to why the UFC made the right decision by scheduling a rematch, let’s look at the two possible outcomes of McGregor vs. Diaz II.
If McGregor Loses
If McGregor loses against Diaz for the second time then he can always move back down and fight for his featherweight belt. A fight that they can sell whether its against Aldo or Edgar, with McGregor as the main draw. In the meantime, Edgar and Aldo can fight for an interim belt, maybe at UFC 200 under the assumption that McGregor will have to defend the belt against the winner anyway.
If McGregor Wins
If McGregor wins it sets the stage for McGregor Diaz III, which could end up being one of the best rivalries in the history of MMA, and a bonafide money-maker for White and the UFC. It’s hard to imagine that they’ll tie up the featherweight belt for another four months after UFC 200, so it’s likely that McGregor moves back down to fight the winner of Edgar vs. Aldo. Even if he loses his featherweight belt, then the UFC will still have an opportunity to pit McGregor against Diaz again in another lucrative match up.
If we grant that it’s in the immediate interest of the UFC to strategize around their biggest star, then McGregor Diaz II gives them the best opportunity to get the most fights out of Conor while he is at the peak of his celebrity. That’s why McGregor vs. Diaz II actually makes a lot of sense.