McGregor took the time to congratulate Diaz on fulfilling his contract on Saturday, via his personal social media. The two fought twice in 2016, splitting the rivalry at 1-1. There has been speculation of a third fight for a long time, but it has yet to come to fruition.
“Congrats Nate Diaz on making it to the end of his contractual obligations with the UFC, and as a bonafide superstar goer,” McGregor wrote on Twitter. “An incredible feat. Fair play. Our trilogy will happen.”
Earlier this week, Diaz also expressed confidence a third fight would eventually happen between the two. In an interview with Inside Fighting, Diaz said the timing isn’t right for the trilogy now but “it’s for sure going to happen at some point.”
Diaz (20-13) will face former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson (25-7) in the main event of UFC 279 inside T-Mobile Arena. He was initially scheduled to face rising Chechen-Swedish contender Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 279 in Las Vegas, but Chimaev missed weight on Friday.
The UFC tried to sign Diaz to a new deal all year, but he opted to fight out his deal and test free agency. Diaz, 37, has fought exclusively in the UFC since 2007.
The McGregor-Diaz rivalry began in late 2015, when Diaz accused McGregor of “taking everything I’ve worked for” in a postfight interview in Orlando, Florida. Diaz accepted a short-notice fight against McGregor in March 2016, and upset the Irish star by second-round submission. McGregor immediately vowed to avenge the loss, and defeated Diaz by majority decision in a five-round battle five months later.
McGregor, 34, has not fought since July 2021. He is still recovering from a broken leg he suffered during a TKO loss to Dustin Poirier. He stated last year he has two fights remaining on his UFC contract.