UFC president Dana White has poured cold water on speculation that an agreement has been reached for Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz to contest an eagerly-anticipated and decisive trilogy-concluding fight before the end of 2017.
Reports from Ireland over the weekend had suggested that reigning lightweight champion McGregor and arch-nemesis Diaz would likely square off in the octagon for the third time at Las Vegas' T-Mobile Arena on Saturday 30 December as the headline bout of UFC 219.
However, taking to social media on Sunday night (24 September), White insisted that those rumours were completely baseless.
"Not true AT ALL," he wrote in response to a a fan.
The pair first locked horns at UFC 196 in March 2016, when a bloodied Diaz, a late replacement for the injured Rafael dos Anjos, stunned the sporting world by withstanding a number of heavy blows before submitting his opponent with a second-round rear-naked choke.
McGregor, who made the significant jump to welterweight for both contests, avenged his maiden UFC loss five months later at UFC 202 following a typically controversial and agitated build-up, winning a five-round battle by majority decision.
The brash Dubliner has fought in the UFC just once since that latter meeting, stopping Eddie Alvarez in the second round of their UFC 205 clash in New York City in November to make history as the first man ever to hold two UFC titles concurrently. He later vacated his featherweight strap.
McGregor's only fight in 2017 to date came in the boxing ring, when one of the most lucrative bouts in the sport's history ended with a comfortable 10th-round victory for Floyd Mayweather Jr in Vegas. Diaz has yet to return to the octagon since losing to "The Notorious", with White complaining back in March that the Stockton native keeps turning down the fights offered to him.
McGregor's coach, John Kavanagh, previously claimed it was "hard to envisage" his student fighting again this year, despite a number of suggestions to the contrary. However, the Irishman has indicated that he will return to the UFC amid whispers that he could opt to retire from combat sports altogether with the money earned from his date with Mayweather.
Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee are due to go head-to-head in an interim lightweight title fight at UFC 216 in October, while McGregor has appeared open to the prospect of travelling to Russia for a fight against top contender Khabib Nurmagomedov. "The Eagle" expects to face the winner of Ferguson-Lee in December.