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UFC 196 McGregor vs Diaz: The Pre-Fight to a Future Welterweight Classic

Updated on March 1, 2016
Conor McGregor KOs former long-time UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, at UFC 194.
Conor McGregor KOs former long-time UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, at UFC 194. | Source

If you've been keeping up with the MMA news media lately; or are like myself and follow multiple MMA news sources on social media, then you have probably heard the devastating news that UFC lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos is out of the UFC 196 title fight against the popular Irishman and UFC featherweight champion, “Notorious” Conor McGregor. News hit public on February 24th, 2016, as the coverage by MMA media hit by storm and became a major blow to many UFC fans including myself. It was reported that Dos Anjos pulled out of the fight due to a With the fight less then two weeks away, many thought that this may be deja vu all over again as McGregor has been put in a similar situation before when “Notorious” was set to first battle against long time former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo at UFC 189 back in July2015. Aldo pulled out less then two weeks before the fight were to take place in Las Vegas, Nevada at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The event, however, was saved when top featherweight contender Chad Mendes step up on short notice to take on McGregor for the intern UFC featherweight championship. McGregor won that fight with a 2nd round TKO and eventually met Aldo later that year at UFC 194 back in December, where McGregor came out on top with a shocking 13 second knockout defeating the Brazilian legend and capturing the UFC featherweight title.

McGregor decided to move up to 155 and was scheduled to face lightweight champion Dos Anjos on March 5, 2016 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, but with Dos Anjos injury plans will need to be changed for the UFC 196 headliner. Just as fans were taking in the bad news regarding Dos Anjos' injury, the UFC was able to save the event, as TUF 5 winner and popular Gracie jiu jitsu ace Nate Diaz has stepped up to replace the lightweight champion. Born and raised out of Stockton, CA, Diaz first became popular with UFC fans when he won the TUF 5 crown back in 2007, in which he defeated fellow cast member Manny Gamburyan via submission. Since then, Nate Diaz has competed in the UFC compiling an impressive veteran record of 13-8 inside the octagon and during this time, he provided fans with spectacular submission and KO victories which came with his anytime, anywhere trash talking attitude that fans still to this day enjoy. Nate Diaz certainly has made a name for himself inside the octagon with notable wins over the likes of Takanori Gomi, Donald Cerrone, Jim Miller, Gray Maynard, and Michael Johnson. With that in mind and after Diaz's last dominating fight against Johnson back in December, its for certain that the bad boy from Stockton is a definite threat to anyone who steps in the octagon against him. All things considered, Diaz's opponent is no walk in the part; matter of fact, McGregor is proving more and more each day that there's no challenge the man from Dublin can't face.

When news hit that McGregor has agreed to fight Diaz at 170lbs, many thought that this would be a crazy move from McGregor. With less then two weeks till the main event of UFC 196 on March 5th, some fans such as myself are wondering if “Notorious” can carry that same devastating knockout punching power, jumping from 145lbs to 170lbs. Just as when considering these certain obstacles, who other than Conor McGregor to be the man to step up and produce the confidence to quite the critics. Not only does the usual McGregor confidence gets showcased to us on a multiple basis, we should all consider the fact that McGregor actually walks near the same weight as a 170lbs welterweight on average. When McGregor prepares for his fights at 145lbs, he commits to shedding the weight to compete at the featherweight division and having his average weight being near 170lbs within the welterweight division, it is certainly believable that the power the Irishman puts forth will definitely be making an appearance on March 5th.

As adding this information in, it really boils down to the timing and accuracy of both McGregor and Diaz in which this will more likely decide who will be leaving the MGM Grand Garden Arena that evening with their hand raised in victory. McGregor more than likely has the advantage with the boxing when you consider the power he possesses with his crosses and straight punches. On the other side, Diaz has excellent boxing himself; as the Diaz brothers are quite known for their multiple boxing combinations that produce some of the greatest accuracy of punches we have seen in MMA. Diaz fans do not need to be reminded of the great highlight KO finishes he showcased; as his proven track record, with wins against Gary Maynard and Rory Markham. Although the hands that Nate and his older brother Nick Diaz have developed over time, providing fans with exciting fights; the Diaz brothers are known for their slick and technical jiu-jitsu ground game. We can recall some of the entertaining and amazing submissions that Nate Diaz utilized inside the octagon and the Cesar Gracie student made those skills known, as fans have witness some of the best submission victories and moments from Diaz. With submission victories over Kurt Pellegrino, Junior Assuncao, Marcus Davis, and Takanori Gomi, fans saw some of the best work from the Gracie student and nothing beats his most impressive capitalizing submission victory over Jim Miller back in May 2012 at UFC on Fox 3. Diaz used crisp and well time technical striking to pick apart Miller in set up to a guillotine choke submission victory around 4:09 of the 2nd round. With these facts in mind, everyone would certainly consider Diaz's submissions to be a best chance threat to McGregor's game.

McGregor only has two defeats implemented on his 19-2 record, which consist of 2 submission defeats. The last defeat occurred in 2010 when McGregor was defeated by current UFC lightweight fighter Joseph Duffy, in a Cage Warriors Fighting Championship event. The fight ended early in the 1st round due to an arm-triangle choke. It does seem the ground game could be McGregor's demises as he was also taken down multiple times against Chad Mendes in the 1st round back at UFC 189. We will have to wait till fight night to see how much defense McGregor has focused on and if Diaz will bring the fight to the ground in order to capitalize.

March 5th, 2016 will be a night action and fireworks as we all will be expecting these two warriors to brawl face to face in the UFC octagon. All trash talking will be put aside as the men from Dublin, Ireland and Stockton, CA put on an epic fight that has unbelievable outcome written all over it.

Nate Diaz lands a left punch on Michael Johnson at UFC on Fox 17
Nate Diaz lands a left punch on Michael Johnson at UFC on Fox 17 | Source


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