clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Who’s next for Conor McGregor? Zahabi wants ‘epic’ Nate Diaz trilogy for inaugural 165 belt

New, 41 comments

Firas Zahabi wants to see the completion of their trilogy, and a new weight class to boot.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

After Conor McGregor’s big win this past weekend at UFC 246, the natural question on people’s minds is what could be next for the Irishman. Dana White has stated that he wants it to be a rematch against Khabib Nurmagomedov next, but McGregor has stated that he won’t wait and wants a quick turnaround in March instead.

Who could be next? If you ask Firas Zahabi, he would love for it to be the completion of the Diaz trilogy. The renowned MMA coach also thinks it would be a great opportunity to start a 165 lb division.

“I love that idea (of Conor McGregor) fighting Nate Diaz again at 170 or 155,” Zahabi said on a recent AMA session. “Either way, it doesn’t bother me, even a catchweight, 165. Why not start a new title, a new belt, a new championship title?

“Super lightweight, 165, Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz. I would tune in,” he continued. “I think a five rounder with a belt on the line to settle this epic trilogy fight would be phenomenal. I would love to see that fight. I think it’s a great great possibility.”

Zahabi of course, has also called for this new division in the past. He previously suggested that his friend and star pupil, Georges St-Pierre face Khabib Nurmagomedov to launch the new division, but the UFC just shut it down.

McGregor and Diaz would likely be on board with Zahabi’s idea — especially since it could possibly make the Irishman a three-division champion — but White has been firmly against this. According to the UFC president, 165 “ain’t happening while I’m here,” regardless of how many fighters and pundits call for it.

Another great option for the inaugural 165 lb title would be McGregor vs Masvidal. None of that really happens if White isn’t on board, but I’ve also tried to make the case for 165 before:

At this point, there’s less reason to not have a 165 lb division, and to move welterweight to 175 lbs. The deep talent pool at 170 and 155 can handle creating a new division. There would be more uniform, 10 lb separations, from flyweight to middleweight (and possibly less extreme weight cuts?). There would also be one more marketable champion, potentially more super-fights, and hopefully less need for unnecessary interim belts to headline PPVs.

Dana White is being stubborn as always, but let’s hope this is just like the time he was adamant that women would “never” fight in the UFC.

For a more in-depth look on why 165 lbs makes so much sense, you can also watch the clip on the very top of this post.