John Kavanagh suggests that it was the UFC, not Conor McGregor, that insisted on 170 lbs rematch
Has Dana White been telling fibs?
Shortly after the announcement of Conor McGregor's next fight, a rematch with Nate Diaz at UFC 200, the UFC president appeared on ESPN to claim that he and Lorenzo Fertitta, Chairman & CEO of the promotion, tried to dissuade McGregor from fighting at welterweight this time but that 'The Notorious' refused.
White said: "Obviously Lorenzo and I tried to argue with him and say let's go back down to 145 and defend your title, or if you really want the Diaz fight that bad, do it at 155. And he wants to fight at 170. Even his coach, Coach (John) Kavanagh, tried to get him to get off this rematch and off the 170 lbs fight, but it's what he wanted."
That somewhat surprised many due to the conclusion of McGregor's first move up to 170 lbs, which resulted in a second round submission defeat at the hands of Diaz at UFC 196.
Why would he insist on the same conditions with which he struggled mere weeks earlier?
Respected MMA reporter Ariel Helwani believed that he had the answer.
Speaking on The MMA Hour, he said: "The reason this is happening at 170 lbs is because — to be frank — Conor McGregor is a bit of a wildman. He’s obsessed with the idea that he lost to Nate Diaz at 170 lbs. He feels like he should have won and he wants the same circumstances, the same rules, the same stipulations. He wants to do it again and he wants to prove that he’s the better man.”
Former UFC fighter Kenny Florian believed McGregor's desire to continue at welterweight was to set up a potential super-fight with legend Georges St-Pierre.
He said on The Fighter and The Kid podcast: "That's what I think was supposed to happen (McGregor vs GSP). That would have been over 2 million PPV buys. It would have been the biggest UFC fight of all time. Maybe that's why Conor wants to fight at 170 lbs against Nate. Maybe that's the fight he wants."
But, if the comments of McGregor's head coach John Kavanagh are to be believed, then it wasn't McGregor who wanted to have this fight contested at welterweight but, rather, it was the UFC's desire.
@davehighton83 initially thought 155 would suit both guys better. UFC insisted on 170. we agreed. not that much of a biggie.
— Coach Kavanagh (@John_Kavanagh) March 31, 2016
Very interesting indeed.