On Saturday Night, the UFC undoubtedly reaped enormous benefits with their showcase of one of the most intriguing rivalries in the history of combat sports, Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz. This fight was a rematch that fans had been chomping at the bit to see ever since these two men first locked horns at UFC 196 back in March. There hasn’t been a fight in MMA history that has been more publicized or met with such anticipation as this rematch!
A little over five months ago, the McGregor hype train was cruising full throttle down a track that only seemed to have him destined for greatness as he was steadily staking his claim as one of the absolute best pound-for-pound fighters in the world! Fresh off a first round knockout of then UFC Featherweight Champion, Jose Aldo, it was hard for anyone to deny McGregor as it only took him 13 seconds to knock off a man who hadn’t been defeated in 11 years and had never before been knocked out in his career! At the time of this fight, Aldo was largely considered to be the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
Not only did this victory solidify McGregor as the “real deal”, but it also gave fans a glimpse into what type of mind games and trash talking this man was capable of. Let’s face it– he had Aldo defeated mentally long before they ever stepped into the cage! No one had ever shown such a lack of respect for the reigning featherweight kingpin and, furthermore, never had a man displayed as much of a disregard for the skills, abilities, and killer instincts of the champion. I believe Jose knew that Conor was not afraid of him and he had never felt that in combination with such a lack of respect before in his career, which broke up the rhythm of his psyche as a defending champion in the UFC for over six years!
He let that emotion get the best of him on fight night as he couldn’t even bare to look at McGregor, keeping his head down and his eyes firmly fixated on the mat until the opening bell rang. He put that anger on display as he immediately rushed McGregor with a vicious barrage of punches and was met with one crisp counter punch that sent him to the mat with a stiffened face plant and crowned a new UFC Featherweight Champion to the shock of most of the fight world! It was official: Conor McGregor had arrived and he was here to stay at the top! (Or, so we thought)
The UFC quickly realized what a dynamic commodity they had on their hands and swiftly scheduled a super-fight between two champions of different weight classes, Rafael Dos Anjos and Conor McGregor, for the UFC Lightweight Championship. Conor was looking to get right back into the cage and make history again, and the UFC was more than willing to give him the opportunity to be the first man to become a dual-weight champion in the promotion’s history! Unfortunately, less than 2 weeks before the fight, the lightweight champ got injured and McGregor was left in the dust without a legitimate opponent, enter Nate Diaz.
The bad boy from Stockton, California has never strayed away from a fight with anyone and McGregor was no exception. Diaz took the fight on only ten days notice and displayed the same disrespect and disregard for Conor that Jose Aldo had felt. McGregor showed that he had the true spirit of a warrior as he fearlessly agreed to move up two weight classes on such short notice to fight a much larger man. Diaz’s outstanding cardio and elite ground game proved to be his most valuable assets as he weathered the early storm and choked out a gassed out McGregor in the second round, thus creating his own unique piece of history. This was easily one of the most notorious upsets ever! (Pun intended)
All of these elements were the perfect mixture to create maybe the single biggest rematch ever, and the fans were salivating at the thought of it for month’s right up until the first round started on Saturday night! It is reported that McGregor earned a $3 million payday for his efforts, which surpassed the record Brock Lesnar set for his UFC 200 performance with a $2.5 million payday. Nate Diaz reportedly earned $2 million for his efforts in Saturday’s loss. This card may go down to be the UFC’s biggest money maker and if it doesn’t, than this rivalry certainly will!
CONTROVERSY CREATES CASH
We’ve all heard this old adage, but it has never ringed more true than it does right now!
McGregor and Diaz had been taking verbal shots at each other for months which had proved to be the fuel for the phenomenon that this rivalry is. Everything was taken to another level last week at the pre-fight presser when these two men began exchanging with each other in a chaotic war of words that ended with Diaz launching a water bottle across the room towards his nemesis, and McGregor gladly returned the favor about five or six times over! This was a first in UFC press conference history as they had never helplessly watched two men become so violent and crude with each other, turning the presser into pandemonium! This was a far cry from the occasional shoving match at these events, this was all out war! This is only solid proof that the above statement holds true because there is no doubt that this generated more hype on fight week which led to more pay-per-view purchases and a thicker lining in the pockets of UFC executives and these two fighters. If you don’t believe me, check this out: after seeing the madness of the press conference, my mind was made up and I absolutely HAD to buy this fight! There thousands of other people that did the same exact thing! There you have it, solid proof! The hype business drives the fight business and controversy is the biggest cash producer!
Diaz & McGregor ARE TRUE WARRIORS
This fight lived up to the hype in every sense of the statement. These guys left EVERYTHING in that cage on Saturday night! I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever watched two tougher guys fight. Nate Diaz’s ability to absorb punishment and continue to bring a furious pace throughout the whole fight is something to behold. I’ve always looked at Diaz to be the type of guy who wants to hit you with 100 shots at 50% power instead of 30 or 40 shots at 85% power. His cardio is far superior to the average fighter and he incorporates that into his game so well, he knows he won’t gas out so he looks to systematically break down his opponent. On the contrary, McGregor displayed that he is an elite striker with excellent timing and precision. He showed that he can stay patient and pick his shots. He proved that he can withstand a vicious beating and still keep coming. He proved all the doubters wrong that he couldn’t go five rounds.
It looked certain that this fight would be a repeat of the first fight as McGregor began to look extremely fatigued in the second round and Diaz quickly recognized that and turned the heat up to 1000 degrees! The fact that Conor was able to withstand the storm of shots that Diaz rained on him at the end of that second round and regroup in the third was nothing short of spectacular. I literally was laughing out loud because at times McGregor looked like a zombie fighting—dead on his feet and somehow managing to continue pushing forward, no matter what he was being hit with! These guys were so beat up at the end of the third round it looked like they would never be able to go the distance, but they did and it was awesome! I think it’s safe to say that when McGregor and Diaz hook up for a rubber match, it will be the biggest fight in UFC history!
RUMBLE WILL CRUMBLE THE COMPETITION
Glover Teixeira was fast asleep in just thirteen short seconds after a precise and devastating uppercut from the man they call “Rumble.” I have always been a fan of Anthony “Rumble” Johnson because of his dynamic, explosive knockout power that is as violent as anything I’ve ever seen. He doesn’t just knock guys out, he sends them into an R.E.M. dream state where they think they’re meeting they’re dead grandmother for lunch only to come back to reality with a referee waking them up! If you don’t believe how good “Rumble” is, let’s check the stats.
-In 22 career victories, he has 13 first round knockouts.
-He has knocked out his last 3 opponents in a grand total of 2:07.
-In UFC, he’s earned Fight of the Night honors one time, Knockout of the Night honors 2 times, and 5 Performance of the Night bonuses.
After his total destruction on Saturday, he is now slated to meet Daniel Cormier in a rematch for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. In their first encounter, Cormier was somehow able to eat the power shots of “Rumble” and eventually secure a rear-naked choke for the win but many are skeptical if Cormier can do that a second time or if he was just a lucky one that got away the first time. Teixeira had not been knocked out since his first professional fight over fourteen years ago in 2002! Many believed he would have been able to do the exact same thing that Cormier did, but they were dead wrong!
This rematch is a real fight: no trash talking, just actions doing the talking! These men have nothing but the utmost respect for one another. This will be Cormier’s most lethal adversary and he has a very real risk of losing his title! Believe me, “Rumble” has become a MONSTER! If you don’t believe it, just read the extremely wise quote that Joe Rogan said in regards to Johnson’s performance on Saturday night after the fight, “There’s a level that he’s at that nobody else is at: it’s an ‘I touch you, you go to sleep’ level!” He continued, “That’s a terrifying man, nobody has been able to do that to Glover!” I believe “Rumble” is the best knockout artist in MMA today! Either way, this rematch will be loaded with fireworks!
Please feel free to comment below! Tell me how much you love me or hate me! Tell me what YOU think!
Until next time, The Gonzo Shark checks out!