It is almost here! UFC 196 takes place tomorrow live from Las Vegas, Nevada and the fighters have weighed in ahead of what should be an entertaining night of fights. Although the card has lost it’s marquee Champion vs Champion main event, the new main event has arguably captured the attention of fans even more so.
Following the scuffle that marked a conclusion to the pre-UFC 196 press conference yesterday, it was unsurprising to see the two men kept at a safe distance from each other by Dana White, Joe Rogan and Lorenzo Fertita with a heavy security team in the background, just in case. The 170 pound main event may not have been the one that the UFC originally wanted, but it is one hell of a consolation prize. Can Diaz become the first man to topple Conor McGregor in the UFC? Or will McGregor power on towards a title shot at either lightweight, or indeed welterweight, in his next outing?
Following their weigh-in, Joe Rogan got the thoughts of both Diaz and McGregor. Diaz kept his words to a minimum.
“I’m here to kill or be killed. Stockton, California. F*ck this little bitch.” Before putting up the signature Diaz middle finger towards McGregor and adding “F*ck you.”
McGregor responded to a question of an opponent change in typical McGregor fashion and took the chance to poke a little fun at Diaz.
“It’s another day for me: one pulls out and one comes in. I’m used to it. I was just giggling at his little soft body. How can a fat guy be so skinny at the same time? It amuses me.” The Irishman then turned his attentions to fighting at his natural weight. “I’m looking forward to go in there and put the martial arts back into the game. Weight should never be an issue. Champions should be able to go up and down and fight any challenge that comes before them. I’m looking forward to going in tomorrow night fresh and to put on a show for the fans. I always step up for the fans.” He then treated the fans to a brief moment of shadow boxing and one of his trademark spinning kicks.
As if that wasn’t enough, the co-main event for UFC 196 features two of the world’s top women’s bantamweight fighters as UFC champion Holly Holm looks to make the first defence of her title against perennial challenger, Miesha Tate. In fact, UFC 196 marks the first time since UFC 51 way back in 2005 that a UFC title match served as the co-main event to a non-title match. The winner of this bout is most likely to go on to face Ronda Rousey late this year. However, that fight is for consideration at a later date, and both women will be looking solely to leave the MGM on Saturday night with UFC gold around their waist.
In their post fight comments, the bantamweights looked forward to tomorrow’s title bout.
“I’m excited,” Tate began. “Thank you all for being here. Women’s MMA rocks, thank you so much. It’s because of you guys, seriously. It’s because of you guys I stand here right now so thank you.”
Holm, who looked intense on the stage, also shared her thoughts on the match. “It’s a whole new training camp, whole new nerves, whole new fight, whole new work in progress. November’s fight was back in November, now I gotta be ready for March 5th so I’m ready.”
The women’s bantamweight division will also open the main card when #4 ranked Amanda Nunes from Brazil takes on Kyrgyzstan’s #10 ranked Valentina Shevchenko. With the title in their division being decided later in the night, the timing could not be better for one of these women to make a serious statement of intent.
Two light heavyweight bouts follow that match to complete the UFC 196 main card. First, TUF 19 competitor Corey Anderson takes on fan favourite Tom Lawlor. Immediately after that bout Sweden’s Ilir Latifi fights in Las Vegas for the first time in his career against Serra-Longo representative Gian Villante.
The preliminary card is full of names that will be more than familiar to UFC fans such as Brandon Thatch, Erick Silva and Darren Elkins. However, undoubtedly the jewel on the preliminary card is the bout that will serve as the UFC Fight Pass featured prelim – Diego Sanchez vs Jim Miller in a battle of UFC and MMA icons.
All fighters successfully made weight at the first time of asking.
The full weigh in results are as follows:
UFC 196 Main Card
- Conor McGregor (168) vs Nate Diaz (169)
- Holly Holm (134.5) vs Miesha Tate (135) – Women’s bantamweight title
- Gian Villante (205) vs Ilir Latifi (205)
- Corey Anderson (204) vs Tom Lawlor (204.5)
- Amanda Nunes (136) vs Valentina Shevchenko (134)
UFC 196 FOX Sports Preliminary Card
- Brandon Thatch (170) vs Siyar Bahadurzada (170)
- Erick Silva (170) vs Nordine Taleb (170)
- Vitor Miranda (185.5) vs Marcelo Guimaraes (185.5)
- Darren Elkins (145.5) vs Chas Skelly (145.5)
UFC 196 UFC Fight Pass Preliminary Card
- Diego Sanchez (156) vs Jim Miller (155.5)
- Jason Saggo (155.5) vs Justin Salas (156)
- Juilian Erosa (144.5) vs Teruto Ishihara (146)
Dana White gives an update on the lightweight title picture
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”.
"Conor has said he's thinking about coming back in September. If he comes back in September, that's almost two years…that can't happen." — @danawhite
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) January 15, 2018
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.
Conor McGregor reacts to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s win at UFC 219
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.
That Dagestani was dog shit the other night you's are all nuts. Game full of sloppy bums asking to be slept. Pay me my worth and Kings back.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) January 1, 2018
Truly truly truly get on your fucking knees and beg me. Otherwise I don't give a bollox.
My whiskey is out this year and thats Diddy bread.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) January 1, 2018
“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.
Conor McGregor has ‘Every intention of fighting in 2018’
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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