While there might have been doubts about Conor McGregor‘s confidence when he butted heads with the UFC over promotional duties and it ended up costing him the UFC 200 headlining spot, it appears the brash Irishman is quickly regaining his mojo.
After telling ESPN in a recent interview that he was just a punch or two away from taking out Nate Diaz at UFC 196 in March, a fight which he lost via second-round submission, McGregor then relayed that it was he who came up with the idea to have former UFC champions Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar fight for an interim version of his featherweight belt on the UFC 200 fight card.
McGregor didn't want to drop back down and defend his belt until he had avenged his welterweight loss to Diaz, so he is focused on trying to make that fight come back together after blowing it up for UFC 200. With the UFC not wanting to hold up the featherweight division, McGregor said that he told them to do an interim belt in an attempt to try and reinvigorate the division and make it worth his while to make the weight cut to defend his belt.
“It was my idea,” McGregor told ESPN's Brett Okamoto. “I wanted to have my revenge at 170, and they're crying and complaining about the 145-pound belt, which I just won three months ago. That division was killed, it was dead. Jose went down in 13 seconds. What more can I do? I traveled the world with that man. I finally got him in the Octagon, and he only lasts 13 seconds.
“I didn't see a challenge there anymore. So, I wanted to create interest from a fan's perspective and my perspective. I want to see them two go at it, with an interim belt on the line. Then I will see people walking around my division with a belt and that will intrigue me. It will make me want that belt again.”
In the meantime, McGregor has mended fences with the UFC brass, but putting the fight with Diaz back together has proved challenging. UFC president Dana White and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta met recently with Diaz to try and make the fight happen as the UFC 202 headliner on Aug. 20, but Diaz's demands have slowed the negotiations.