Conor McGregor v Nate Diaz 2 for UFC 200
Conor McGregor was the “too-big-to-fail” aura of the UFC, but any practical, well-informed, mixed martial arts fan, while rooting for Conor, could still see the possibility of the Notorious Conor McGregor “bubble” popping with a loss to Nate Diaz at UFC 196 earlier this month. Diaz, a decorated UFC veteran with a 20-10 record, eight of those ten losses going to decision, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu with a weight and reach advantage over McGregor, would be a tough opponent for McGregor regardless of the circumstances. Given the circumstances of an opponent change a week before the fight, expecting to fight fifteen pounds lighter against lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos, that’s a pretty big circumstance, and one that proved to be McGregor’s downfall.
Losing to Nate Diaz, four minutes and twelve seconds into the second round via rear naked choke, McGregor admitted in his post fight interview that he was, “inefficient with his energy” and that the next step was probably to go back down to the 145 weight class to defend his title. While he can’t remain “notorious” for having never been wrong about his fight predictions, he can, however, remain notorious for never turning down a fight. His “too-big-to-fail” bubble bursted, it’s this notoriety, and McGregor’s character, "always humble in victory or defeat" that make Conor one of the best marketing strategies the UFC has ever landed.
With rumors suggesting that UFC president, Dana White, is upset due to the results of UFC 196, the event reportedly coming in second in pay-per-views only to UFC 100 and highest in pay-per-view sales considering there was a five-dollar increase in the pay-per-view purchase price in the beginning of 2015, proves anything but. “This thing right now is breaking every record we’ve ever had, pretty much the biggest fight ever,” was how Dana started the post-UFC 196 press conference. So it's no surprise that a McGregor v Diaz 2 is in the works for UFC 200 and whether or not it will happen should be announced by the end of this week.
At the 196 post-fight press conference, Conor discussed how the change in weight made for a fight he wasn’t necessarily expecting. “Usually I fight a man, in the division I am champion in, and they crumble under those shots, but Nate took them very well. The weight, I think, allowed him to take those shots well. I think with a little bit of an adjustment and a recognition that the bigger man, you must be a bit more efficient with your striking, you must not put everything into those shots. But I was simply inefficient with my energy, I made some errors... It’s just another day, I’ll come back.” But no one thought that McGregor would be back for Diaz as soon as their next bout! What it all comes down to is that Conor is sellable, and Nate Diaz has proved himself to be too. The UFC couldn’t be happier with how things ended, but mostly with the way Conor handled it. McGregor shows heart and humility, brazen confidence and poise, all when needed best for UFC brand activation. Attracting 4.9 million viewers to the UFC’s embedded series, it is clear that people want to see McGregor and Diaz. People will pay to see McGregor fight anyone, and considering the success of his last bout against Diaz, the two for a main fight for UFC 200 is definitely promising.
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