With another week having passed with no apparent progress towards a Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz rematch, UFC president Dana White did the rounds on various US talk shows yesterday to update fight fans on the situation as things stand.
In the wake of meetings with both fighters last week, there will have been a lot of people hoping to hear that a fight announcement was imminent.
Unfortunately, if anything, White's words during appearances on both ESPN's 'SportsCenter' and Fox Sports' ‘The Herd’ actually cast doubt over the high-profile rematch happening at all.
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Discussing McGregor's future plans, the UFC president told ESPN, via MMA Junkie, on Thursday:
“We’re working on what’s next for him...We’re trying to set up a fight right now. It’s been a little challenging.
"Obviously, the fight he would love to do is the rematch with Nate Diaz. I’m trying to get the deal done...I don't know if it will ever happen, but I'm trying."
The 46-year-old's answer didn't exactly exude confidence, but at least it suggested White and the UFC hierarchy were working hard to get the two fighters standing across the octagon from one another as soon as possible.
However, speaking to Colin Cowherd later on the same day, White revealed the organisation has actually broadened its horizon beyond Diaz when looking at the next fight for The Notorious One:
"It's just madness," said the UFC boss, via Pundit Arena.
"It's just been tough. It's been a tough go-through, so we're looking at another fight for Conor right now and we'll see how this thing comes together. But Conor is just so obsessed with Diaz at 170, it's been crazy."
The revelation that Diaz may now no longer be the number one candidate to face McGregor is a disappointing one for those desperate to see if the Irishman can avenge his shock UFC 196 defeat against the California native.
Considering White's other claims, however, the idea that they are "looking at another fight" might simply be an attempt to put pressure on Diaz to back down from his financial demands:
"You try to be as fair as you can be, and the problem is that we have a deal," white told Cowherd. "It drives me crazy. We already have a deal. He [Nate] has a contract.
“Nate made millions and millions for his last fight [at UFC 196]. Nate’s trying to blow up the deal, and it’s frustrating.”
Considering the collective actions of White and McGregor led to a scheduled rematch at UFC 200 being pulled, it seems a little harsh to blame Diaz for the current delay.
Nevertheless, somewhat ironically, with Diaz testing the patience of the UFC with his desire for a big pay day, it actually sounds like McGregor is the one keeping the American's hopes of a rematch alive right now:
“Conor is obsessed with this rematch,” White told ESPN. “I don’t know why, but he is. It’s just his type of personality. He’s obsessed with it. He’s obsessed with fighting Diaz again – at 170 pounds.”
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