What’s next for Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz win or lose at UFC 202? Plot out their next fights for either scenario.
RICH HANSEN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
If Nate wins, he’s fighting Eddie Alvarez for the Lightweight Title. After all, what says Lightweight Title material more than beating a non-lightweight at a non-lightweight weight class?
If Conor wins, HE’S fighting Eddie Alvarez for the Lightweight Title. Jose Aldo will once again be the undisputed (but NOT untainted) Featherweight Champion of the world.
If Nate loses, he’s back to the middle of the pack at 155 lbs. He’ll main event Fox and FS1 cards, but Dana and the UFC matchmaking team will feed him to guys who are more likely than not to maul him.
If Conor loses, he’s going to have to pay George Lockhart a shit load of money to get down to 145 pounds again, because his diminishing leverage over the nefarious shadowy powers that be (I hate not being able to just say Zuffa anymore) will be greatly diminished. And for the record, if you look at how many tickets are available, and if you consider that the UFC has actually slashed UFC 202 ticket prices (which I think is unprecedented in their history), you’ll realize just how much his influence has already been diminished.
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Well, McGregor has to fight Interim UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo next. Whether he wins or loses, he has to fight Aldo next or the UFC should strip him. This has been lingering on far too long and he needs to defend his belt. Diaz should be immediately in the title picture at lightweight if he wins. I wouldn’t put him in a title fight just yet, but I would put him against the highest ranking guy in the division who’s not getting a title shot and if Diaz wins, he gets a title shot. If Diaz loses, then he goes back to being very popular but still needing to build a case for himself in the division. I’d have him fight the loser of Rafael dos Anjos-Tony Ferguson in November, and work from there.
NICK GRINUPS, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
If Conor McGregor wins I believe he should vacate his featherweight belt and fight Eddie Alvarez for the 155 pound title. If McGregor should lose, he should go back down to featherweight to defend his title against foe Jose Aldo.
If Nate Diaz wins, I think he should get the title shot at Lightweight Title shot against Alvarez. If Diaz loses to McGregor, I would like to see him go back down to lightweight and take on Will Brooks or Michael Chiesa.
JOEL WIELENGA, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Win or lose I hope that the next fight we see Conor in is a rematch with Jose Aldo. Even though we saw how it played out relatively recently Aldo looked like his old self against Frankie Edgar and it will be interesting to see how the fight would go should it play out for more then just one round. If Conor wins I could see the UFC going straight to a trilogy fight as each guy would have a win a piece but I think after this one it is time to give this match up a break for a while.
If Conor wins and does not want to/ can no longer return to 145 then we will probably see him fighting Woodley or Alvarez next. If he loses and does not go back to 145 then I think we could see him fight Donald Cerrone at either 170 or 155 (Assuming he wins his fight on the same night).
If Nate wins I think the UFC will give him a title shot. He will have beaten the 145 champ twice and if there is a chance to give a Diaz a title fight they are getting one. The only question is would the shot come at 170 or 155. I personally think it would be at 155 vs. Alvarez he has expressed interest in fighting the winner and 155 seems to be Diaz more natural weight class. Should Nate lose they might go trilogy but if not I think a fight with Cerrone (rematch) works great here as well.
MATTHEW PETERSON, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I think either fighter will face the same fight with a win. Lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez has talked enough trash to set up a champion vs. champion fight with a McGregor win. Conversely, a Diaz win would give him enough hype and drawing power to set up his own title fight with Alvarez. If McGregor loses, it is a return to the featherweight division and a fight with interim titleholder Jose Aldo. It is a loss for Diaz that truly raises questions. He’s right in the middle of the pack at lightweight and fights with Edson Barboza, Tony Ferguson or Rafael dos Anjos could await him if he falls short to McGregor.
DAN MOORE, MMATORCH UK COLUMNIST
I wasn’t in favor of this rematch when it was announced, so the thought of an instant trilogy fight is not appealing in the slightest. A win on Saturday and Conor McGregor may surprise everyone by forfeiting his Featherweight Title. After all, the thought of cutting so much weight again won’t appeal to him and the Jose Aldo rematch can’t go any better than the first. Another loss to Nate Diaz and he’s got no other choice but to rematch Aldo and try to rebuild his dwindling status.
A second win for Diaz surely sets him up for at least a No. 1 contender fight at welterweight or lightweight. Assuming the UFC go with Tyron Woodley vs. Stephen Thompson, it’s quite possible he could fight the winner of Carlos Condit vs. Demian Maia or even dethroned champion, Robbie Lawler. If he drops back to 155, he could fight Eddie Alvarez later this year now that Tony Ferguson is booked to fight Rafael dos Anjos and Khabib Nurmagomedov simply isn’t reliable.
[Photo (c) Mark J. Rebilas via USA Today Sports]
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