Amidst the barrage of profanity-laden insults and flying bottles there’s actually a fight going down in Las Vegas tomorrow night, featuring the biggest star in the UFC and one of the sport’s most beloved fan favorites. You choose which is which.
Yes after all the trash talk is said and done – and ahead of some pretty ugly can-throwing court cases that lay ahead – Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz will return to the centre of the Octagon in Sin City for the second installment of their bitter and bizarre 170lb grudge match at the T-Mobile Arena.
Can the current featherweight champion of the world achieve what he so brazenly set out to do back in March – leap two weight division’s and claim the scalp of one of the Octagon’s most established fighters?
Or will we get a repeat of their hastily arranged UFC 196 matchup, with Diaz once again ultimately proving too tough and durable and skilled on the ground for the effervescent Irishman.
It’s a tale of two camps at war. Both claiming an advantage after a full eight-weeks of preparation time. But there can be only one winner.
Yet while McGregor has revealed he’s spent over $300,000 on a full-kitted out gym in Las Vegas, over in the 209 it’s been business as usual.
Diaz says: “I have to keep it real. I have to stay true to myself and if he comes in with his whole team, well I have a whole gang here ready to ride. I’ve been training like normal for this, not taking this differently than any other fight. I’ve been working with Richard Perez, Cesar Gracie, Randy, Gilbert, Jake, Nick.
“I did bring in some pro boxers and some kickboxers to work with this time but that’s all. I expect all kinds of surprises from Conor so I’m making sure that I’m ready for whatever he brings. I’m not making any predictions. I’m just going in there to win.”
McGregor wants more however. Not content with just having his hand raised after the fight, ‘Notorious’ is driven to prove his tactics in their first encounter were sound, only his conditioning wasn’t. He’s determined to get the knockout his opening round salvo in March looks destined for.
Conor says: “It’s a big fight, it always was. We’re ready to fight, so let’s go. This invincible feeling Nate has that he can’t get knocked out, he’s going to get knocked out on Saturday. My legacy was set in stone when I knocked out José Aldo in 13 seconds. This is a straight fight, I came for a straight fight.”
UFC 202: Diaz vs. McGregor 2 is live tomorrow night on PPV in the US and on BT Sport in the UK. Check local listings for start times.