Las Vegas has reached a boiling point, and the bad blood is spilling over everywhere!
UFC 196 takes place tomorrow night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, with Conor McGregor stepping up two weight classes to fight Nate Diaz. Not since Brock Lesnar‘s meteoric rise to the top of UFC has the world been so captivated by MMA competitors with such mainstream appeal and transcendental charisma as “The Notorious” Conor McGregor and “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey.
For years, Rousey decimated almost every single opponent set against her inside the octagon, coming over to UFC as the Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion, and soon being declared the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion as well. Rousey looked all but untouchable…of course that is until she met “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holly Holm at UFC 193 back in November. A brutal second-round head-kick by the 20-to-1 underdog, Holly Holm single handedly shattered the mystique of the once-untouchable Rousey. That moment will go down in history along with the likes of 42-1 underdog Buster Douglas‘ shocking tenth-round KO of the then-undefeated “Iron” Mike Tyson in 1990 and, in our humble opinion, Brock Lesnar shocking the entire crowd at WrestleMania XXX into silence when he conquered The Undertaker‘s undefeated streak on sports entertainment’s grandest stage of ’em all.
But when the history books have been written, will another major upset have gone down on March 5th, 2016? Will time stand still as the world watches, shaken to it’s core once again as another seemingly unstoppable figure is dismantled?
This Saturday night at UFC 196 in Las Vegas, the UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor goes toe-to-toe with late replacement opponent, Nate Diaz. The short-notice and non-title special Welterweight bout comes after McGregor’s original opponent, UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos, pulled out of the fight due to a broken foot (and, allegedly, according to McGregor, a “broken vagina!”).
McGregor, while not undefeated in his professional career thus far like Rousey or Tyson, is 7-0 in the Octagon and is currently at the absolute top of his game, with zero signs of silencing his sharp tongue or stopping, much less slowing down, anytime soon. In his words: “The game is on its knees and I’m on a throne”.
But is UFC‘s self-proclaimed new king truly untouchable? The last time he stepped into the Octagon, it certainly appeared so. In another historic moment, it took McGregor only 13 seconds to shockingly end Jose Aldo‘s 10 year unbeaten streak. With dos Anjos’ injury, the opportunity for McGregor to make even more history by becoming the first fighter in UFC history to hold two titles simultaneously has been taken away (presumably only postponed, despite McGregor expressing difficulty to commit to another fight with dos Anjos). However, he may yet be a part of history this Saturday night, albeit at his own expense.
McGregor is the living, breathing embodiment of arrogance. He’s an unapologetically brash, awe-inspiring and undeniable prizefighter; Hands down one of the most, if not THEE most controversial figures to ever set foot in the UFC. Recently described by Joe Rogan as being “like some sort of Celtic Warrior ressurected from the grave”, he’s a different breed. And whether anyone likes it or not, Conor McGregor has taken over. There’s no questioning that, thus far, he’s backed up every last word of trash talk that has unrelentingly spewed out of his mouth
Naturally, all of these factors obviously dictate that whoever hands McGregor his next loss is going to make history. That “whoever” just might be Nate Diaz. Despite the fact that Diaz heads into Saturday’s bout the significant betting underdog, with having only 11 days to get ready for McGregor, an upset win is most definitely not impossible. After all, Diaz does possess the size, reach, and experience advantage. While many are hoping for an earth-shattering “stand and bang”, but if the fight gets taken to the mat … despite vast improvements in his ground game as of late … Conor could definitely find himself in some serious trouble.
No title is on the line this Satruday. So, win or lose, McGregor is leaving Vegas the UFC Featherweight Champion. What IS on the line is McGregor’s claim to be king. What is on the line is a world that has become captivated with The Notorious One, so much so that perhaps they’re underestimating his opponent, arguably the very same way that Rousey’s last opponent was largely overlooked.
Could Nate Diaz possibly be Conor McGregor‘s own personal “Holly Holm”? Is the mystique of “Mystic Mac” and the new face of UFC about to be shattered, Rousey style? Does pride in the form of flaunting a $420,000 Rolls Royce Phantom on Twitter come just before the fall?
Or has The McGregor Era really only just begun?
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