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12th Oct 2017

Disappointing PPV numbers could mean great news for Nate Diaz

The numbers don't lie

Ben Kiely

There’s no doubt about it, Nate Diaz is the biggest Money Fight waiting for Conor McGregor in the UFC right now.

Conor McGregor wants to come back to the Octagon and the question everyone’s asking is who is going to welcome him back – interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson or bitter rival Nate Diaz?

Throughout the entire media circus surrounding his professional boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather, it seemed as though McGregor was itching to complete the trilogy with Diaz as soon as possible. However, the UFC appeared to have other plans.

Tony Ferguson was booked to fight Kevin Lee for the interim lightweight strap at UFC 216 and in order to finally receive a UFC belt, ‘El Cucuy’ had to go on the longest win-streak the division had ever seen. His submission victory over Lee was his 10th-straight win, but being the interim king may not necessarily earn him a unification bout.

The last two times Nate Diaz headlined a PPV, they did north of a million buys. Admittedly, McGregor brought most of these eyeballs, but credit where it’s due, UFC 196 slightly outperformed a far more stacked UFC 205 which seems to indicate that Diaz pulled his weight in promoting the fight.

One of the biggest critics of Ferguson is that he has not managed to capture the attention of the casual fans. Up until recently, this has been somewhat difficult to prove as true. Although, the early projections of how UFC 216 performed from Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer newsletter seem to confirm this theory.

It is estimated that UFC 216 drew around 120,000 PPVs, a disappointingly low figure, especially considering how the main event was linked with McGregor.

If these early projections ring true, and there’s no reason to believe that they won’t, Diaz could be rubbing his hands together awaiting his next red panty night.