Nate Diaz found himself back in the spotlight at UFC Fight Night 126, but not because of anything fight-related. When the cameras found the Stockton native and cannabis enthusiast in the crowd, Diaz took the opportunity to whip a large blunt out of his pants, put it in his mouth, and grab a lighter. A quick cut-away ruined his fun, but the mischief put the name Nate Diaz back in the news cycle and reignited the question fans have been asking since 2016: When will Diaz and Conor McGregor complete their trilogy?
Odds Nate Diaz & Conor McGregor ever complete their trilogy: 1/2
Unless one of them retires from mixed martial arts in the next five years, part three is going to happen eventually. Each man owns a win over the other, and both want to go down in history as the other’s superior. The only way to settle the score is with a third fight. The only thing standing in the way is the intractability of both sides when it comes to negotiations. McGregor is worth a fortune to the UFC and he knows it. He isn’t going to step foot inside the octagon to fight anybody unless he feels he’s getting his fair share.
Diaz has toyed with the idea of transitioning to boxing, and he drives a hard bargain himself when it comes to negotiations with the UFC. But there are vast sums of money to be made on this trilogy fight — enough to line the pockets of all parties with tens of millions. That’s ultimately what made the McGregor-Mayweather boxing match come to fruition, and it’s what will make Diaz vs McGregor III an eventual reality.
McGregor vs Diaz III: Odds and Analysis
|ODDS TO WIN TRILOGY FIGHT
In both of the earlier matchups, Diaz’s style gave McGregor all sorts of problems. In the first, McGregor underestimated Diaz’s ability to take a punch. The Irishman fought with his standard aggressive style, looking for the knockout he’s usually able to muster with his elite power. But Diaz absorbed it all willingly and was then able to capitalize on a gassed McGregor in the second round, submitting him via rear-naked choke.
McGregor adjusted in the rematch, demonstrating a higher fight IQ than most give him credit for. He recognized that Diaz wasn’t going to be overwhelmed by his power, nor fatigued by his pressure. McGregor employed more cerebral striking and wound-up outpointing Diaz in a close fight.
If and when they meet again, McGregor will be the heavy favorite [over Diaz] for a few reasons.
If and when they meet again, McGregor will be the heavy favorite for a few reasons. First, he showed in the second fight that he has the wherewithal to not go full-bore for a finish. Second, his standup will have improved immensely. He spent months training as a boxer to fight Mayweather, and managed to hang with arguably the best pound-for-pound striker of this generation for nearly ten rounds.
While both fighters could be substantially different by the time this fight actually gets made, that only favors the younger McGregor (29) as well. At 32, Diaz still has miles left on his odometer, but is unquestionably on the downslope of his career.