Well it’s official. The rumor rollercoaster is finally over, and at the end of the ride it looks as though it is going to be Nate Diaz, who has agreed to take on Conor McGregor at UFC 196 in Las Vegas. Rafael Dos Anjos was originally scheduled to fight McGregor, but had to pull out of the fight due to a foot injury.
If I am being honest, I would have like to have seen Eddie Alvarez take on McGregor for a number one contender ranking, or even, perhaps, an interim title. However, it never seemed as though Alvarez was in the mix, and so here we are with Nate Diaz. As I said, at a purist level I would have liked to have seen Alvarez, but at an entertainment level, I could not be happier.
Now here is where it gets interesting. Instead of fighting at the 155 weight limit, this fight will be taking place in the welter weight division at 170 lbs. To say that I an excited for this new match up would be a massive understatement.
Now there were many talented fighters who could have potentially struck gold with this match up, but there is no man that embodies the true fighter spirit quit like Nate Diaz. He and his brother Nick have always been game to take on any person, anywhere, and that could not be truer than this situation right here. McGregor may be the most dangerous fighter in the game right now, but don’t tell Nate because even if you do he won’t care.
Now aside from the fight itself, the most exciting aspect of this announcement is the trash talk that will be spoken in the coming week and a half. Both men are sensational at deprecating their opponents, but they each do it in their own way. McGregor will vow to behead you and then drag your corpse through your home town as they throw a parade for him, whereas Nate will just tell you how is going to kick your ass as he flips you off. Different styles of trash talk, but equally effective.
As for the actual fight, it should be a good one. Both men are extremely polished boxers, and both guys can take a punch. Diaz, unlike McGregor, is very skilled in jiu jitsu, so if it goes to the ground he has the advantage there, but if I know Nate Diaz like I think I know Nate Diaz, he is going to want to stand and trade for all five rounds.
What is truly interesting about this fight is that McGregor has never fought someone like Diaz, and what I mean when I say someone like Diaz is someone who has the reach advantage. Diaz has a 76 inch reach while McGregor has a 74 inch reach. Normally McGregor is able to use his abnormally long reach to keep his opponent at a distance, but with Nate Diaz, that strategy isn’t going to work. McGregor is going to have to utilize his kicks if he wants to keep it standing up.
After all though, I am just glad that this fight got put together, and that we don’t have to wait till July to watch McGregor fight again. This is going to be a tremendous fight, and with two guys like McGregor and Diaz, I don’t think there is any way that this won’t be one of the most entertaining bouts in UFC this year.
By Jake Cianci