MMA | 2 weeks ago
One star has golden chance to steal Conor McGregor fight from Nate Diaz
Hard to argue with Brendan Schaub here

From a business perspective, Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz III is the logical next fight to make.

Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz have headlined two of the biggest PPV's in UFC history. So it only makes sense that the promotion would be pushing for McGregor to complete the trilogy upon returning from the second biggest boxing bout ever.

Everything seems to be lining up perfectly to allow the McGregor vs Diaz rubber match to get booked. Initially, it was thought that the main event slot of the huge end of year UFC 219 card was the targeted destination, but that ship may have sailed.

Either way, the UFC wouldn't risk announcing a fight that would render the spoils of UFC 216's headliner this weekend redundant. What's the point of an interim championship if the champion won't unify it?

The first face seen in UFC 216 Countdown: Ferguson vs Lee promo is that of Conor McGregor. While the promotion haven't promised the winner of Tony Ferguson vs Kevin Lee a red panty night, they certainly don't mind insinuating that 'The Notorious' will fight the victor.

Brendan Schaub reckons that only one man in that main event could take Diaz's spot in the long queue to fight McGregor, as he explained on the Big Brown Breakdown. 

"The reason why I think this fight is so god damn important and so interesting is because if Kevin Lee were to win, if he were to pull off this upset and beat Tony Ferguson who's won nine in a row, who's the scariest man in the division - I actually think Tony Ferguson is the best 55-er right now - if Kevin Lee were to beat him, get on the mic and rip just one hell of a WWE promo towards Conor McGregor, I think that would be Conor McGregor's next fight."

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Schaub may be correct. Diaz has proven to be difficult in negotiations with the UFC in the past while Lee's (16-2, 9-2 UFC) stock has continued to rise since suffering that TKO to Leonardo Santos six fights ago.

If he upsets Ferguson to take the golden strap, he has the charisma and smack talk ability to get McGregor's attention.

"In Conor's heart of a heart's, he's a fighter. I think what he would do is a) he matches up well with Kevin Lee b) Kevin Lee is a good dance partner for him because he could sell that fight and it would be a huge, huge PPV. Interim belt holder, looks good, speaks well, just beat Tony Ferguson who's won nine in a row and he can carry his weight as far as selling a fight where Tony Ferguson really can't."

Whether or not that fight would garner more PPV buys than Diaz III is up for debate, but it would undoubtedly be a more legitimate title defence than one against a middling lightweight who's 3-4 in his last seven fights.

Tony Cascarino on the SportsJOE Live couch and Rory Best answer questions.

Read more about:

UFC, Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz, Tony Ferguson, Brendan Schaub, Kevin Lee, UFC 216