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Measuring Momentum- the Dwyer Score of UFC 202: Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor II

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One of the most anticipated bouts of the year is right around the corner, and that anticipation shows in the event’s Dwyer Score as UFC 202 registers a large +23. That score ranks 5th of 2016’s 24 events thus far, beating July’s UFC 200 (+19) though falling just short of the two headliner’s original bout in March at UFC 196 (+24).

It’s the highest scoring event of any kind since early June, and of the 19 fighters eligible to contribute a score to Saturday’s event, 15 are coming off at least 1 win. For sake of comparison, at UFC 201 11 of the 21 fighters contributing a score were coming off at least 1 win. That means 79% of this Saturday’s card are coming of a UFC victory compared to 52% at UFC 201- this was not an easy card to get booked on.

The highest scorer on the card is Cody Garbrandt (+4), the undefeated 25-year-old coming off the highest-profile victory of his career in the form of a first-round KO over a previously undefeated Thomas Almeida. The lowest contributor to this event is Artem Lobov (-2) after back-to-back disappointing performances against Ryan Hall and Alex White.

Demian Maia and Carlos Condit were originally slated to meet on this card (a booking that would have increased UFC 202’s Dwyer Score to +27, by the way), which would have put UFC 202 in the discussions for the most stacked main card this year, but with Garbrandt, Glover Teixeira, Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson, Donald Cerrone et al still on the billing, maybe that booking would have been too greedy.

The Big Contributors

Conor McGregor -1 : McGregor is coming into this fight off the back of his first UFC defeat. If he wins this bout, talk of a lightweight title shot, possibly at Madison Square Garden at UFC 205, will be back on. If he loses this bout, Team Conor can downplay the Nate Diaz saga as a brave foray into a higher weight class before returning for a featherweight title defence. Make no mistake, a second loss to Diaz here will not see Conor McGregor fade into the background, though it certainly changes the flavour of his 2016 plans.

Nate Diaz +2 : Diaz could be getting paid more in 2016 than he made in his entire career beforehand. The McGregor saga has kick-started a career that had looked for a moment as if it were starting to wind-down. It’s hard to say what a second victory over Conor would mean for Nate, would the UFC feel comfortable granting him a title-shot? Would Nate even want a title-shot? And if so, lightweight or welterweight? The Diaz brothers are such enigmas, impossible to predict, and if Nate is victorious again on Saturday then we’ll all have a job trying to guess what comes next.

Anthony Johnson +2 : ‘Rumble’ is 5-1 since returning to the UFC, with 4 of those victories coming via TKO/KO (3 in the first round, 1 in the second). Glover Teixeira is a former title challenger and a tough challenge for anyone, but a man whose recent UFC opponents include Phil Davis, Lil’ Nog, Alexander Gustafsson, Daniel Cormier, Jimi Manuwa and Ryan Bader will not be put off by Glover’s reputation. Daniel Cormier has already said he’d like to fight the winner of this bout, which is clearly the number one contender bout in the light-heavyweight division.


Last 5 Dwyer Scores

UFC 202 Diaz vs McGregor II +23

UFC FN Rodríguez vs Cacares +11

UFC 201 Lawler vs Woodley +12

UFC on FOX Holm vs Shevchenko +2

UFC FN McDonald vs Lineker +10


The Dwyer score is a simple way of assigning a numeric value to the momentum of any one event. We can do this by assigning a figure to each fighter’s current streak. A fighter on a 3 fight win-streak contributes +3 to an event’s score. A fighter on a 2 fight losing-streak contributes -2 to the score. If you tally up the scores for every fighter on a card (only counting UFC fights) you get a total which gives you an idea of the form of fighters heading into that event.

As you may imagine Pay-Per-View events tend to have higher scores than Fight Nights, as fighters on longer winning streaks tend to be placed on bigger cards. For example, UFC Fight Night: Ben Rothwell vs Junior dos Santos was a +4 whilst UFC 194: José Aldo vs Conor McGregor was a +62.

So what does this tell us? It cannot definitively measure the quality or excitement of any one specific event, however it does give a value for a card’s momentum that is immune to the business side of MMA matchmaking. Events pitting fighters at the top of their game against each other will score well, events that fast-track fighters into main card slots or push too many immediate rematches will not.

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Dana White gives an update on the lightweight title picture

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When it comes to the lightweight division there is always a lot of talk with very little clarification. But now it seems Dana White has had enough of waiting for champion Conor McGregor and plans to move on in his absence.

“The Notorious” Conor McGregor won the UFC lightweight title back in November 2016 at UFC 205 where he became the first fighter to hold two belts simultaneously, however, he has not competed in MMA since.

Speaking on Sunday night’s after UFC Fight Night St. Louis UFC President Dana White said “Conor has said he is thinking about coming back in September if he comes back in September that’s almost two years, that can’t happen. It’s not fair to everybody else. Love Conor, respect Conor, love everything he’s done for this company, everybody knows that I say it all the time. The belt would have to move on.”

White also spoke about the two men that would fight for the lightweight belt saying “You do Khabib versus Tony, we’re working on that fight now and if and when Conor comes back he would get the first crack at the title.”

Then when presenter Karyn Bryant pushed for clarification and asked: “So you’re saying that Conor could possibly be stripped of his title?” Dana responded without hesitation “absolutely”.

The news will excite UFC fans across the globe who have been clamoring for the Ferguson vs Khabib matchup which they have been denied on three separate occasions. No date was confirmed for the potential matchup but rumors have been circulating that the UFC is targeting UFC 223 in April.

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Conor McGregor reacts to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s win at UFC 219

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On Saturday night the world watched as Khabib Nurmagomedov dismantled the striking expert Edson Barboza at UFC 219. The reactions were filled with praise for the undefeated Russian fighter. Media members and fans alike were calling Nurmagomedov one of the best lightweights in the world, but there is one man the world was waiting to hear from, UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor. McGregor was silent following the fight between Nurmagomedov and Barboza, that is until Monday morning when he took to Twitter to state his opinion about the Number one contender.

“Truly truly truly get on your fucking knees and beg me,” McGregor wrote on Twitter.  “Otherwise, I don’t give a bollox.  My whiskey is out this year and that’s Diddy bread.” The whiskey that McGregor is referring to is his very own grand that he announced would be coming out following his loss to Floyd Mayweather this past August.

Rumors about McGregor’s return have ranged from him retiring from fighting to live a life of wealth with his family, to expect his return to the UFC this summer. No one really knows if McGregor will ever defend his UFC lightweight belt, but if he is to do so UFC President Dana White has said that it will be against interim champion Tony Ferguson.

Ferguson was also seeking a fight with Nurmagomedov prior to winning the interim belt against Kevin Lee. It is entirely possible that we will see these two battle for the interim title in the octagon before we see the return of Conor McGregor. Of course, these days there are no guarantees in regards to title contention, McGregor and his camp have publically stated that they would like to face Nurmagomedov in his home country of Russia. 

 

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Conor McGregor has ‘Every intention of fighting in 2018’

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Despite being inactive since his historic boxing bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in August, Conor McGregor is never far from the headlines. Recently his out of cage antics have got people questioning if he’ll ever be back.

Thankfully the UFC lightweight champion appears to have cleared up any rumors about his fighting career.

Speaking to his sponsor Betsafe, the “Notorious” Conor McGregor said “My focus is getting back into the right ring or octagon. 2017 was historic. I have transcended both the sport of MMA and boxing. At this stage of my career, as it has been for the majority of my UFC career, potential opponents must lobby for fights with me. We could see Conor McGregor anywhere. I run the fight game, the fashion game, the whiskey game or whatever the next business endeavor might be”.

McGregor added, “I have every intention of fighting in 2018 if my compensation and business development endeavors accurately reflect my influence on combat sports.”

This comes just two weeks after UFC President Dana White told reporters “Conor might never fight again. The guy’s got $100 (expletive) million. I’ve got guys that made less than that and were lawyers and went to school their whole life and quit working.”

White went on to say “Try to get up and get punched in the face every day when you’ve got $100 million in the bank. Money changes everything with a lot of people.”

White also told reporters that the “Notorious one”, “can’t be paid enough money” and that he is “worth every penny and more.” McGregor’s recent statement suggests he knows that and won’t be back till his demands are met.

The UFC lightweight division has been stalled in the absence of the champion McGregor and now the interim champion Tony Ferguson has undergone surgery. The UFC has been known the remove belts from fighters who have been delayed for extended amounts of time, this would be highly unlikely with the popularity of McGregor.

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