Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor will meet in the octagon for a second time this weekend at UFC 202
Conor McGregor is likely to revert to the 145lb division to defend his belt if he loses to Nate Diaz this weekend, according to UFC reporter Ariel Helwani.
Speaking to Off The Ball's Ger Gilroy, Helwani says that McGregor may lose some of his bargaining power if he suffers another defeat at UFC 202 but that nothing is certain when it comes to the Irish fighter.
'The Notorious' goes into this fight on the back of a particularly hostile press conference, where both parties hurled water bottles at each other, resulting in Dana White getting 'agitated,' says Helwani.
But despite the setbacks, he says that we should never underestimate Conor McGregor's ability.
"If he loses, you'd have to suspect that he'll go back down to 145lb and defend his belt. He'll have a lot less leverage if he loses, but Conor has a way of getting what he wants with the fact that we're seeing this rematch when nobody thought he was gonna get it, so I think all bets are off at this point."
While many have predicted that another loss could spell the end for McGregor, Helwani believes that the reality might be far from it, given how he bounced back last time.
"It remains to be seen how a loss will affect him," said Helwani. "In MMA, losses don't mean as much as people sometimes think they do. He's coming off a loss and yet he's never been more popular. When you lose, all that work you've done to become this star doesn't suddenly just go down the toilet."
The highly renowned UFC reporter also commented on the low number of Irish fans expected to attend the fight. He conceded that this "doesn't feel like a typical Conor McGregor fight."
"It's asking a lot to have them come from Ireland three times in the space of about eight months since UFC 194. This is by far the least attended fight by the Irish fans, maybe that will change by tomorrow, but it is very noticeable."