Coach: Conor McGregor ‘too clean’ for Tony Ferguson; fans prefer Nate Diaz trilogy
According to McGregor’s striking coach, Owen Roddy, both are intriguing options, though he personally prefers a third meeting with Diaz. And he thinks fans feel the same way.
This past Saturday in UFC 216’s pay-per-view headliner, Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) picked up a third-round submission victory over Kevin Lee (16-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) to claim the interim 155-pound title.
Immediately afterward, Ferguson called for a title-unification bout (check out the video above) with McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC), who hasn’t fought since an August PPV boxing blockbuster loss to Floyd Mayweather.
“He’s good, obviously,” Roddy said of Ferguson. “He wouldn’t be the interim champion if he wasn’t good. His style is, you know, it’s not traditional. It’s a bit unorthodox and stuff, but I just honestly think that Conor’s going to be way too clean for Ferguson. If Ferguson tries to stand with Conor for an extended period of time, it will be lights out, in my opinion.
“You know, he’s tough as well. He’s tough and durable, so he may take a couple of smacks, but at the end of the day, Conor’s going to be way too clean and too technical. … He won’t get touched. That’s my opinion. But yeah, it will be an interesting one, and it will be an exciting fight as well because Ferguson does come to fight, and he’s aggressive. He goes in. He looks to finish fights. So it will be exciting. But yeah, without a doubt if he wants to stand and bang with Conor, it’ll be lights out fairly quick, I think.”
McGregor vs. Ferguson makes sense from a rankings, title and simple logic standpoint. Champion vs. Champion, after all. But no McGregor return would be complete without speculation of a third meeting and rubber match between McGregor and Diaz (19-11 MMA, 14-9 UFC). UFC President Dana White, though, suggested McGregor vs. Diaz 3 is now unlikely.
“I honestly think that people would rather – like, I think people would rather see Conor vs. Diaz,” he said. “I just think it’s a more exciting fight for everybody. It’s the trilogy. The first two fights, the back and forth between the guys and the way the fights went – you know, who wouldn’t want to see the third fight? But of course, it makes sense that he fights (Ferguson), he defends the belt.
“Whatever happens, I don’t know, but I said this already: I would like to see (McGregor-Diaz 3). The Ferguson fight is an interesting one as well. Like, he’s an exciting fighter so it will be an exciting fight. So either or, either or.”
Roddy also didn’t rule out a possible return to boxing; McGregor and Paulie Malignaggi have some beef, after all. But like most of the MMA world, Roddy is ready for McGregor’s return to the cage rather than a ring.
“I think even Conor said himself that he’s got unfinished business in the octagon and he wants to go back and defend his belt,” Roddy said. “So yeah, I think that’s what’s going to happen. Is he done with boxing? Probably not. If the right fight comes up and the right money’s on the table, I’m sure he would jump in and go again. You know, without a doubt. So who knows what next year is going to be like anyway? It’s going to be bigger than 2017 anyway. That’s what I imagine.”