The minute the UFC announced that featherweight champion Conor McGregor was going to face Nate Diaz in place of the injured lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 196, the minds of fans across the world knew that they were going to be in for a treat between two of the sport’s biggest stars.
McGregor has gone from UFC newcomer to the face of the company in an extremely short time span, while Diaz has been in the UFC since 2007, and has become one of the biggest names in the game. It just seemed like a match made in fighting heaven.
After Wednesday afternoon’s press conference, it’s clear that that’s exactly what everyone got.
From McGregor claiming that he is the “only rule” in the game to Diaz stating that there was no hesitation on his part to accept the fight, it was clear that everyone was in for a treat during the half-hour media event.
Diaz said that he was willing to fight down at 155, but McGregor quickly refuted by stating that Diaz wasn’t ready to fight at 155, 160 or even 165. Because of that, the bout will be at 170-pounds in the welterweight division.
From there, the trash talking only rose to new heights.
“How’s it feel to be a millionaire now?” McGregor opined. “It’s nice, right?”
Diaz simply followed it up with that he didn’t give a [expletive]. He was just going to fight, and he was ready. McGregor was then asked about moving around to different weight classes in order to fight, which lead to the best response of the day.
“The only weight I [expletive] care about are the weight of them checks, and my checks are always super heavyweight,” McGregor said regarding fighting in a variety of weight classes.
That wasn’t the only bombshell line dropped during the conference, though. Diaz claimed that all fighters in the UFC are on steroids, including the Notorious one. That accusation drew the ire of McGregor, who seemingly lost his mind to the claim.
“Don’t be putting my name in steroids, I’m major against that,” McGregor said. “Don’t put my name in the name of steroids, Nate.
“Not me! I’m not on those steroids, what the [expletive] are you talking about? Your two teammates were on steroids. Your two boys…I’m just an animal.”
At times, it appeared that Diaz was in over his head due to the level of trash talk being thrown his way by McGregor. However, those that know Diaz know that he’ll be right back with his own selective verbal jabs as the fight approaches. He’s one of the best talkers in the game, and, like McGregor, will back up what he says inside the Octagon.
There was an admission that there was a mutual respect between the two fighters because they each know what the other is capable of. McGregor said that Diaz has his respect due to not backing down from the fight when so many claimed to want it yet wouldn’t sign up. At the end of the day, however, McGregor said it was all about business.
McGregor claims that Diaz will be finished by the end of the first round by way of a knockout while Diaz simply refused to give a prediction on the contest. All he said was that his strategy was to go in with a “kill or be killed” mentality.
If a press conference between the two was that explosive and entertaining, one can only imagine how the fight will go down on March 5 at UFC 196. These 10 days can’t go by fast enough.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports