After weeks of speculation, the UFC last night confirmed a rematch between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz set for UFC 200.
The bout, slated for July 9, will give the Irish fighter an opportunity for revenge after he succumbed to a shock defeat at UFC 196 at the beginning of March, and its announcement has been praised by most UFC fans.
However, it is a blow for those who wanted to see McGregor put his featherweight title on the line in his comeback fight. Fortunately, UFC president Dana White had some more positive news for that group.
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"Yes, he will (return to featherweight)," White told reporters on Wednesday evening, via Fox Sport.
"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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Those two fighters, Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar, will actually share the UFC 200 card with McGregor and Diaz after the organisation confirmed a fight between the two for an interim featherweight title.
Long time coming
The mere fact an interim title has had to be introduced, highlights just how long McGregor will have been out of the division picture.
The 27-year-old hasn't defended the featherweight belt since winning it from Aldo back at UFC 194 in December, 2015, and has had to face calls for him to be stripped of the belt altogether in recent months.
And, whilst we know his return to the division will have to wait for a minimum of five more months, at least we now know it will be happening in 2016 barring any major changes to White's plans:
"The guy fights anybody, anywhere, anytime," the UFC boss said last night. "He's stepped up late notice and done these things. He wants this Nate Diaz fight, we'll give it to him.
"We'll make Frankie and Jose the interim title. Whoever wins that fight will then fight Conor McGregor for the true 145-pound title."
Big year ahead
All of this adds even more intrigue to the Aldo vs Edgar bout at UFC 200.
Both fighters have been vocal in calling out McGregor since his loss to Diaz and, now pitted against each other, they know whoever comes out on top at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois will finally get their chance to face the Irishman head on.
For McGregor, meanwhile, White's comments ensure that he is set to continue a blockbuster 2016. Despite his shock loss earlier this month, the fighter remains the top draw in UFC.
His rematch with Diaz is set to bring with it a huge purse. The subsequent featherweight title fight will do exactly the same.
UFC fans: Will Conor McGregor go 2-0 vs Diaz and Aldo/Edgar? Or will he end 2016 with three defeats? Have your say in the comments below...
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