If you already booked a flight to Las Vegas to the New Year's holiday, Ultimate Fighting Championship boss Dana White comes bearing bad news.
On Sunday, Irish tabloid The Sunday World reported that UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor was all-but-official to face archrival Nate Diaz at UFC 219, scheduled for Dec. 30 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The report was quickly picked up by several publications in Ireland and the United Kingdom, but according to the UFC President White, the Diaz-McGregor rubber match is anything but official.
“Not true AT ALL,” White responded on Sunday evening when asked by fans on Twitter if Diaz-McGregor 3 was a done deal.
Not true AT ALL— Dana White (@danawhite) September 24, 2017
According to the initial Sunday World report, McGregor had informed those close to him of the bout's imminency and his inner circle had already began booking flights and hotels for the late December date.
While McGregor's star power and visibility grew in 2017 courtesy of his “Money Fight” boxing match with Floyd Mayweather in August, which he lost via tenth-round TKO stoppage, it was his two-fight rivalry with Diaz last year that led the UFC to a massive pay-per-view windfall. At UFC 196 in March 2016, Diaz stepped in for then-lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos, choking McGregor out in the second round of their main event which drew an estimated 1.3 million PPV buys. When they rematched five months later at UFC 202, “The Notorious” one prevailed via majority decision in a five-round classic to even the score. That card garnered a reported 1.6 million PPV buys.
Following his vengeance against Diaz, McGregor went on to knock out Eddie Alvarez in eight minutes to take the UFC lightweight title last November. He has yet to defend the title inside the Octagon; top challengers Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee will square off at UFC 216 on Oct. 7 to determine the interim UFC 155-pound champion. Nonetheless, in the wake of McGregor's loss to Mayweather, the majority of discussion centering on the Irishman's future has hinged on when and where he will rematch Diaz.
No fights have yet been announced for UFC 219.