Conor McGregor and Urijah Faber were brought in as coaches for The Ultimate Fighter season 22. But unlike most editions, the two opposing coaches did not face each other at the end of the conclusion.
UFC President Dana White had clarified on the previous season's finale that Conor McGregor and Urijah Faber would only be mentoring the participants on the show. The UFC brass appeared to be targeting Conor McGregor's title unification bout with Jose Aldo at the end of the show, and so had to do away with McGregor vs. Faber.
"They're just coaching and mentoring, but the best decision was to get Conor to coach the Europeans," White said during the TUF 21 Finale.
Leading up to the show, Conor McGregor and Urijah Faber did share a slight animosity towards each other. This was evident when the two were involved in an altercation backstage in 2015.
Conor McGregor had a scuffle with 'The California Kid' as he headed to his locker room during the weigh-ins for UFC 189. The Irishman was reportedly undergoing a massive weight cut to fight Faber's teammate Chad Mendes for the interim featherweight championship.
Following the end of TUF season 22, Conor McGregor successfully unified his interim title with Jose Aldo's undisputed belt. The 13-second knockout victory over the Brazilian remains one of the most remarkable moments in MMA history.
Urijah Faber claims he got offered to fight Conor McGregor
In a 2017 fan Q&A session, Urijah Faber revealed that the promotion had offered him a fight against Conor McGregor at UFC 196. The former WEC champion was ready to jump two weight classes above to face McGregor. Their TUF 22 rivalry had prompted Dana White to make the offer to Faber:
“Actually, a lot of people don’t know that I was offered a fight with Conor McGregor – the same fight that Nate Diaz got. And I was going to go up two weight classes and fight him on three weeks’ notice.”
Ultimately, Conor McGregor went ahead with Nate Diaz, who had instigated a rivalry at UFC on Fox 17. But apparently Dana White was pushing for a fight between McGregor and Faber instead.
“Dana said he was going to give that fight to me, and Conor wanted Nate – and you saw what happened there,” Faber said.