Last night, UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor stated that longtime rival Nate Diaz would have to meet him at 155 pounds if he wanted to cash in on an oft-rumored trilogy bout after the two stars met twice at 170 pounds in 2016.
Following McGregor’s tenth-round TKO loss to boxing great Floyd Mayweather last weekend, “The Notorious” is understandably aiming for an octagon return, and not surprisingly, he’s aiming for Diaz in what would most likely be the biggest payday for both men.
But while the Irish megastar’s purse and residual income would be guaranteed, Diaz is apparently still looking for a lot more money as usual. However, just how big of a payday he’s looking for may be tough to secure.
The popular and polarizing Stockton native, who’s been out of action since a close majority decision loss to McGregor at UFC 202, is apparently looking for quite the sum according to his longtime coach Richard Perez, who told Submission Radio just how much he wants from the UFC:
“At least $20 million, $30 million. Come on. UFC’s making a whole lot of money, a whole lot of money and they’re pocketing it. They’re giving more to McGregor, so it’s not fair because it takes two in that ring to draw a crowd – I mean, a good two fighters. It’s just like Mayweather when he fought Berto. It was not even sold out at all. It was embarrassing. It’s because that guy couldn’t draw a crowd. See, that’s what I’m saying, it’s the fighters that draw the crowd, and Nathan and McGregor, third one would be outstanding. Everyone knows that. So he needs to get paid at least $30 million easy.”
Indeed the UFC is making a ton of money off of McGregor, but it’s debatable if they’re making much more off of the rest of their roster during a downtrodden 2017 where strong pay-per-view numbers have been incredibly difficult to come by, a dynamic that only got worse when troubled light heavyweight champion Jon Jones tested positive for steroids following his knockout win over Daniel Cormier at late July’s UFC 214. Diaz may deserve a sum on that level; however, it will be tough to get it from the new UFC owners WME-IMG, who have appeared hellbent on reducing costs during their one-year tenure thus far.
McGregor vs. Diaz is one of, and arguably the, biggest fight the UFC could sign to end the year off with a bang, as there’s no other bout that comes close to matching the backstory and intrigue of MMA’s biggest current rivalry. Many thought Diaz would close that rivalry by beating McGregor twice after submitting him in their first bout, but he supposedly came into UFC 202 with an injury that limited his ability to train.
If he can avoid such a scenario for the third fight, Perez suggested, then McGregor will have ‘no chance’:
“If Nathan goes through training camp with no injuries, McGregor’s not gonna have a chance,” Perez said. “I’ll tell you that right now. If you watch some of the fights, like when Nathan fought (Donald) ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone and some other guys, he was in tip-top shape, he wasn’t injured or anything, he went out there and did it, he boxed them. And when he’s in tip-top shape, he can box. I mean, they think McGregor can box, Nathan can box.
“Right now in the last two fights he fought him, the first time was 11-day notice, so it wasn’t enough time but it was enough time to get a win. Second time he got injured so he had to lay back, so it put him back as far as being in shape and being accurate in timing. And people were thinking, ‘oh, he’s gonna come back and be better,’ no, they don’t see the outcome of it, the true outcome of what happened. It’s like any fighter.