Conor McGregor’s head coach John Kavanagh rubbished claims that “The Notorious” will meet Nate Diaz for a third time on Dec. 30, as was reported by Irish newspaper, The Sunday World, last weekend.
Kavanagh appeared alongside McGregor’s striking coach, Owen Roddy, in Dublin on Wednesday and claimed that his preferred date for the trilogy fight would be St Patrick’s Day, March 17, in New York.
“December 30th is definitely not happening,” John Kavanagh told Mike Sheridan at the launch of the Original Penguin AW17 collection.
“I don’t know how these things get started, but they have a certain way of gaining momentum.
“I can also tell you that his manager rang me this morning saying that him and Conor had been in meetings all day. Obviously, tomorrow is when we would start to consider the date.
“If it was my choice, and I must stress that this is only my choice and that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen, it would be Nate Diaz in March,” Kavanagh continued. “That’s what I would push towards.
“I have in my head that it would be a Paddy’s Day card in New York, Nate Diaz 3. I think that would be absolutely amazing. That’s what I would wish for.
“That’s what I’ll be leaning towards with my 0.1 percent influence when I meet with Conor and Audie (Attar) tomorrow. I want Diaz 3, Paddy’s Day in New York.
“Obviously, it could still be Canelo in May,” Kavanagh added, laughing.
Roddy agreed with Kavanagh, underlining the rivalry between Diaz and McGregor that makes their matchups so appealing.
“I’d second that. I like the whole build-up of the Diaz brothers, it’s a bit mental and it’s exciting,” Roddy told Sheridan. “I think that’s why everybody likes to see those two guys fight. It’s just big when those guys start going back and forth. That’s what it’s all about.”
Although a lot of people believe that the next person McGregor faces will be determined by who wins the interim lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee at UFC 216, Kavanagh thinks that Diaz makes more sense than any other opponent.
“At the end of the second fight, [Diaz] came over and he was very respectful to me. Behind it all there’s a nod and wink and a mutual respect for the fighting,” Kavanagh explained.
“Now, in saying that, when it’s announced I’m sure that Conor’s going to be going at him and Nate will go back at him. At this stage, I mention Diaz and people are shouting, ‘What about Khabib?’ or, ‘What about Tony?’ … And there’s Kevin Lee and some other guys, (people say) ‘They’re due their shot!’”
“Really, Conor doesn’t have to do that anymore. He won the featherweight belt, interim and unified. He won the lightweight belt. At this stage he’s only doing fights because they’re fun. A big fight build-up and to win that — that will do for me anyway.”
Kavanagh continued, highlighting why Diaz is the perfect opponent for McGregor in terms of sport and entertainment.
“I always think that if I was develop a fighter that would give Conor his best or worst night, either way you look at it, I would come up with Nate Diaz,” Kavanagh said.
“He can walk through anything, he can match him somewhat in the trash talk and then you have the thing between Conor’s crew and his crew.
“For a bunch of reasons (Diaz is the right fight). It’s not just about being the right guy — that’s all amateur level. This is professional and it’s about entertainment.
“(MMA) is part sport, part entertainment and I just find it hard to think of a better build-up and a better show than that trilogy fight.”