Most fighters want what has been appropriately dubbed “the money fight.” But as former featherweight champion and perennial pound-for-pound elite Jose Aldo found out at UFC 194, Conor McGregor is just as much bite as he is bark.
WATCH IT: McGregor-Diaz press conference today at 4 pm ET/1 pm PT
Longtime UFC bad boy Nate Diaz has been screaming for McGregor. The Stockton, California product said recently that the Irish superstar “stole the blueprint” on how to mix skills inside the Octagon and on the microphone in his rise to the top of the sport.
Following a profanity-laced tirade directed at McGregor after his win against Michael Johnson on the final FOX card of 2015, Diaz now gets his money fight. Or, as he so eloquently put it, he’s giving McGregor the money fight.
Rafael Dos Anjos’ foot injury set the Internet ablaze with anxiety Tuesday when news broke that the Brazilian lightweight champion had to withdraw from his super fight with McGregor. But as it became clear that Diaz would be the replacement, the mood shifted.
McGregor vs. Diaz is a super fight in its own right. Fans have been clamoring for a McGregor foe who refuses to back down from his verbal warfare, and instead decides to return fire.
The festivities begin Wednesday at the Media Open Workouts in Torrance, California. McGregor and Diaz will be there and will likely begin what many are expecting to be one of the most entertaining pre-fight build ups in UFC history.
When the talking finally gives way to the fight, McGregor finds himself facing a new and very dangerous challenge: an elite MMA-level boxer with a reach advantage. McGregor has towered over every opponent he’s faced inside the Octagon, but it will be Diaz who holds the size advantage at UFC 196.
MORE ON UFC 196: Buy Tickets to UFC 196 | Check out the stacked fight card | Join UFC FIGHT PASS to watch all the best fights of McGregor and Diaz featured in Faceoff collection | Free Fights: McGregor vs. Chad Mendes | McGregor vs. Diego Brandao | Holly Holm vs. Ronda Rousey | Miesha Tate vs. Jessica Eye
McGregor fights at welterweight for the first time, while Diaz spent some time at 170 earlier in his career. He has a two-inch reach advantage and a one-inch height advantage. But Diaz also faces arguably the most technical and dangerous puncher of his career.
Don’t miss McGregor vs. Diaz and Holly Holm vs. Miesha Tate live on Pay-Per-View on March 5. There are still tickets left, but they’re not going to last long. Head over to ufc.com/tickets to get yours today.
Matt Parrino is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MattParrinoUFC