Conor McGregor reveals Nate Diaz was original opponent for UFC return

Conor McGregor is set to return to the UFC this year for a fight against Michael Chandler, but the former champion has revealed that the original plan was a trilogy bout with Nate Diaz.

McGregor and Chandler have been filming the new season of The Ultimate Fighter ahead of their own clash, which is still without a date, location and weight class.

And McGregor, 34, said on The MMA Hour on Wednesday (15 March) that he was previously in talks for a long-awaited third showdown with Diaz, 37. McGregor and the American traded wins in 2016.

The Ultimate Fighter just kind of presented itself,” the Irishman said. “It was originally to be me versus Nate. So, I didn’t mind who it was against to be honest, nor do I mind who I compete against. That’s widely known.

“I had agreed to it with Nate, it was a day or two before, and now it’s Michael Chandler. I’m not sure what went down on that end, but it was me versus Chandler, and that’s it.

“I have no problem with him. I’m happy with it. It’s gonna be a good bout for sure.”

McGregor, who this week admitted to being involved in a ‘hostile’ incident with Chandler during filming, also insisted that he will complete his trilogy with Diaz one day.

Diaz, who submitted McGregor in March 2016 before losing to the Irishman on points that August, left the UFC in September 2022 after submitting Tony Ferguson.

“I’ll get that again,” McGregor said. “We’ll get that trilogy at some stage for sure. That’s when he was gone that he was [supposed to be] doing the show. So, you know what way that is, it’s all politics and all that.

“We must fight, we’re one a piece. It’s a great rivalry, and it was a great fight. So, we gotta square that away for sure. Am I a person not to get the fights made and done? Look at all the fights I’ve had. When I say it, it happens.

“I have a load of bouts left in me and a load of stories incomplete, and I’m excited to continue on and get them done.”

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