When Conor McGregor lost for the first time in his UFC career against Nate Diaz at UFC 196, the Irishman was expected to drop down to featherweight to defend his title against Frankie Edgar.
It came as a shock then, when the promotion decided to book a welterweight rematch with Diaz for the blockbuster UFC 200 pay-per-view on July 9.
Dominick Cruz, who will defend his bantamweight belt against long-time rival Urijah Faber at UFC 199, believes a McGregor-Diaz rematch is what makes the most sense from a business perspective. If "The Notorious" loses, Cruz argues, he still has a reputation as the 145-pound champion and can excuse the loss as a 170-pound risk that didn't pay off.
"The Domintor" spoke at a recent media event (per The Daily Star), where he explained the reasoning for the matchup and stated that Edgar is a very dangerous fight for McGregor.
"Conor's going up to fight Diaz at 170[lbs] again, leaving the featherweight belt for Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar to fight for," Cruz said. Okay, what if Conor McGregor goes back down and fights Frankie Edgar at 145lbs? Which is an extremely terrible style match-up and a hard fight and then he loses? Now he's lost all his push, whereas if he stays at 170, fights Diaz and he happens to lose again, he still has it because he's like; ‘Well, but it was it 170'. So there's still excuses to make for it, to say why he's the best. If he loses to Frankie Edgar at 145, you pretty much kill the excuses. It doesn't necessarily take away legitimacy but it buys time."
McGregor was originally expected to challenge Rafael dos Anjos for the lightweight title at UFC 196, but accepted a replacement fight with Diaz after the Brazilian pulled out with a broken foot. The 27-year-old found success early in the fight, but ultimately succumbed to Diaz' pressure boxing, cardio and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, losing via rear-naked choke in the second round.
Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz II will headline the highly anticipated UFC 200 PPV on July 9th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.