The second contest between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz in UFC 202 over the weekend was an instant classic, the rare event that survived its considerable hype to produce an intense slugfest. After McGregor claimed a vindicating win via majority decision, there were prompt calls for a third fight to settle honours between the two.

Australia’s rising star in the UFC’s middleweight class, Rob Whittaker, gave credit to both fighters: “It was a gutsy fight, they really both brought it. They went to war, they dished it out.”

Whittaker, however, was less keen on the idea that the voluble Irishman and the kid brother from California – only thrown together because Diaz had to fill in for Rafael dos Anjos in UFC 196 on short notice – go around again.

 “In terms of a third fight between the two, I thought Nate won that second one, to be honest,” Whittaker said, further noting that if McGregor wanted a third fight at lightweight, he was better off dropping back down even further to the featherweight class and meet Jose Aldo again. “I want to see McGregor defend the title, against Aldo.”

UFC boss Dana White seems to agree. Normally responsive to fan demands for a particular match-up, White said after UFC 202 that McGregor had to defend the featherweight belt, which he won when he knocked out Aldo in 13 seconds last December.