Conor McGregor’s style, inside and outside of the Octagon, is flashy and full of bravado.
Holly Holm, while positioned alongside McGregor to defend her title for the very first time, is a polar opposite. She’s respectful and soft-spoken.
With two very different approaches to the game, McGregor vs. Rafael dos Anjos and Holm vs. Miesha Tate bring two very different vibes heading to UFC 196.
One matchup is loaded with vitriol, while the other is built on respect. But both title fights are must-see on March 5 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
It didn’t take “The Notorious” long to start his war of words with dos Anjos at the UFC 196 tickets-on- sale press conference back on Jan. 20. McGregor questioned dos Anjos’ loyalty to his home country of Brazil, said he wasn’t as good a fighter as he thinks, and even made some comments about religion.
“This man has a title; he has nothing else but that,” McGregor said. “He is a free TV fighter and he has nothing else to offer me except that gold belt. … He can talk about his wins and losses, but at the end of the day he’s tasted that darkness of being KO’d stiff. And he will taste it again on March 5.”
Keeping steadfast in his approach to the fight game, dos Anjos barely responded to McGregor that day. The Brazilian champion took all of McGregor’s insults in stride, and said he will let his fighting do the talking at UFC 196.
Recently on the “MMA Hour” with Ariel Helwani, dos Anjos spoke about this title fight and how he’s been able to keep his cool while McGregor lobs his verbal pipe bombs.
“This guy, he thinks just because he dressed with expensive clothes and he drives nice cars he has class. But he’s classless and he’s a lowlife,” dos Anjos told Helwani. “He’s an actor and once I go there (at UFC 196), I don’t talk, I do.
“He’s gonna have nightmares about the lightweight division for the rest of his life. On March 5 I’m going to put my hands on this guy and he’s going to pay for everything.”
On the other side of things, Holm and Tate can’t stop talking about how much they respect each other.
After losing a title shot she thought she had lined up against former champ Ronda Rousey, Tate said things tend to work out, and she is relieved to fight someone she respects.
“I think Holly is the kind of competitor that will rise to any level of competition, and that’s what makes her dangerous,” Tate said. “I’m a fan of respectfulness and I think Holly is a true sportsman. I like this fight, the matchup, and it’s a little refreshing not to go against Ronda and have to go through all the drama.”
As far as Holm is concerned, she thinks Tate is a great new challenge.
More on UFC 196: Watch: 2016 Preview Show: Holly Holm | 2016 Preview Show: Conor McGregor | UFC Rankings Report: 2016 preview show | UFC 193 Lookback | McGregor's UFC 194 Backstage Interview | dos Anjos calls out McGregor | Holm & Tate filmed movie together | Gamechangers McGregor, Holm to risk it all | Holm on life after beating Ronda | Fighter Bios: Conor McGregor, Holly Holm, Rafael dos Anjos, Miesha Tate | Sanchez-Miller to be UFC FIGHT PASS featured bout
“Miesha Tate is a totally different fighter (than Ronda Rousey),” Holm said. “She’s very good in the scrambles; she’s technically had more ring experience than Ronda. So there’s different things that she brings to the table and it is a huge challenge for me. But I like to be up against the best because it brings the best out of me.”
Great tickets are still available for UFC 196. Start making your plans to visit Las Vegas on March 5 to watch McGregor try for UFC history – holding title belts in two weight divisions simultaneously – and Holm’s first title defense.
Matt Parrino is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MattParrinoUFC