Anthony Pettis To Fight Conor McGregor After Beating Nate Diaz At UFC 241?
Anthony Pettis is fighting Nate Diaz at UFC 241, but he is reportedly already looking towards an even bigger pay day in Conor McGregor.
Pettis, 32, is set to take on Diaz on Saturday, August 17, 2019, at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The bout marks Diaz’s first fight since August 2016, when he lost via majority decision to McGregor at UFC 202 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Meanwhile, Pettis enters the showdown coming off an absolutely stunning second-round knockout victory over Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson in March 2019, at UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs. Pettis, at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
Pettis and Diaz have been jawing back forth to varying degrees for years, ever since the former was the UFC lightweight champion, so their fight at UFC 241 arguably just as highly anticipated as the main event between Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic. It is the sort of fascinating clash of fun styles and big names that have almost become rare in modern day UFC.
That being said, despite all the hoopla surrounding them finally squaring off, Pettis and his camp appear to already be looking past Diaz to an even more intriguing target: McGregor.
While appearing on Ariel Helwani’s show on Monday, Pettis’ long time trainer, Duke Roufus, indicated that he believes after a good showing versus Diaz his star will have McGregor’s attention.
“Duke Roufus thinks Anthony Pettis and Conor McGregor are on a collision course. Thinks after Pettis beats Diaz he will have Conor’s attention.”
It would certainly make sense that both men would be gunning for the Conor McGregor sweepstakes at this point. A fight against the Irish superstar has been the UFC equivalent of winning the lottery for years now, and since neither is realistically in the picture for a title shot at either lightweight or welterweight, this is the next best thing.
McGregor, of course, has been on the sidelines since his memorable defeat at the hands of Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018 at UFC 229. There were some rumblings in the aftermath of an immediate rematch between the pair in subsequent months, but that never came to fruition.
Instead, Nurmagomedov will take Dustin Poirer at UFC 242.
That leaves McGregor without a dance partner.
Diaz was always seen as the only realistic non-title fight opponent that McGregor would accept since the pair have such a storied history together, and each holds exactly one victory over the other.
Pettis, conversely, was never seen as a realistic opponent against McGregor.
However, if Pettis is able to somehow defeat Diaz in dominant, memorable fashion, it stands to reason that Roufus’ assessment would be correct and that he would in fact enter contention to fight McGregor next.
First thing’s first, though: how realistic is a Pettis victory at UFC 241?
Well, it depends on who you talk to about this. On one hand, Diaz is notoriously hard to stop and is great at putting pressure on his opponents when he wants to via his insane volume.
On the other hand, Pettis is fresh off a fight, and Diaz has been sitting out for essentially three years now. Plus his kick-heavy game should serve him well against Diaz who, famously, likes to leave his lead leg out there for his opponents to chop down.
Neither Pettis nor Diaz is a particularly great wrestler, but both are absolutely fantastic off their backs, so it will be interesting to see how that dynamic plays out.
Can Pettis pull a Josh Thomson? Can Diaz return to form after a lengthy absence like he did versus Michael Johnson? Who will win the McGregorWeight Championship of the world?
Tune in Saturday, August 17 to find out.