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Conor McGregor reveals Nate Diaz was original opposing coach option on TUF 31: ‘We must fight’

Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz have unfinished business.

As part of one of the most natural and heated rivalries in mixed martial arts (MMA) history, McGregor and Diaz captivated the combat sports world immediately upon their first bout’s creation in March 2016. An injury to the then-Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight titleholder, Rafael dos Anjos, opened the door for Diaz to come in and spoil “The Notorious’” party.

And he did it training on Tequila.

Indeed, Diaz defeated McGregor with a second round rear-naked choke submission in part one of the series before McGregor won the rematch via a majority decision later that year (Aug. 2016). Fast forward six-plus years, and the promotion had hoped to put together a trilogy bout at the conclusion of the upcoming The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 31 season.

“The Ultimate Fighter just kind of presented itself,” McGregor told The MMA Hour. “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’s return encounter against Chandler has no official date nor weight class in place as of yet, but it’s expected to take place in 2023. In the meantime, Diaz continues roaming free agency, seeking his next combat sports home.

While McGregor has no intentions of leaving UFC after finishing out the next two fights on his contract, he does foresee a third bout against Diaz one way or another.

“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,” he added. “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.”

TUF 31 will debut on May 30, 2023, and run until Aug. 15, 2023.

For more TUF 31-related news and notes on the upcoming season click here.

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