Social media, as ever, has gone into over-drive following Nate Diaz’s sensational win against in-form Conor McGregor in their UFC 196 Fight Night bout.
Here are the best of the tweets so far:
Nate Diaz walks after upsetting Conor McGregor. https://t.co/2K2do5cTq0— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 6, 2016
McGregor taps out! Diaz beats the odds to beat the Irish McGregor! Who saw that coming?! Pictures from BT Sports pic.twitter.com/iGSYSQuABJ— fanatix (@therealfanatix) March 6, 2016
What a crazy night!!!!!!!— Sydney Leroux Dwyer (@sydneyleroux) March 6, 2016
— Patrick Peterson /P2 (@RealPeterson21) March 6, 2016
Can McGregor add to his impressive record in the UFC or will Diaz derail his momentum?
Use #360Fans to share with us your thoughts on the fight with both predictions and reactions to all the events on the night.
No promotional world tour and no million-dollar hype train, just 10 days and two press conferences is all it took for Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz to sell their UFC 196 main event.
There’s been cursing and hilarious one-liners in equal measure, and a near-brawl at Thursday’s face-off, too. Perhaps fortuitous then that this bout was put together on short notice.
McGregor, the featherweight champion, takes on Diaz, a light – weight contender, at the 170lbs welterweight limit on Sunday morning (UAE time) in Las Vegas.
Up until last week, the divisive Irish superstar was attempting to make history by becoming the UFC’s first simultaneous world champion. He was due to take on lightweight king Rafael dos Anjos but the Brazilian was forced to withdraw with a broken foot.
There is no longer a shot at history. Diaz is not a champion, McGregor’s belt is not on the line and there are no ranking ramifications. In fact, there’s no real implications at all. But although the narrative has shifted, it’s given UFC fans a rare commodity: a fight for them.
Though this clash is just over a week old, it’s one months, if not years, in the making for those who have seen the pair trade subtle – and not so subtle – digs in recent times. They are two of the promotion’s most colourful personalities and it’s part of the reason why onlookers have clamoured to see this fight take place.
But aside from the battle to dominate the mic, this is a fascinating fight for a myriad of reasons.
In one corner is McGregor, a knockout artist evolving faster than any other combatant, and one putting on weight just as rapidly. He is unrivalled in the world of MMA on the feet with his combination of balance, precision, speed and power, making him one of the most feared men in the sport.
Weight, though, has provided much of the background noise to the bout. And for good reason. The 27-year-old is jumping two divisions from his last fight – a 13-second KO of Jose Aldo.
There is talk that defeat of Diaz will propel the Dublin native into a collision with fearsome welterweight champ Robbie Lawler at UFC 200 – the kind of superfight the promotion so desperately craves to sell its biggest ever card.
And while that’s an exciting proposition, it’s crucial to note why cases of fighters jumping a division, never mind two, is so uncommon. Combatants are willing to dry themselves out to make such hefty weight cuts because they gain a huge advantage by being the bigger man in both the strength and power department.
McGregor has been able to feast on two breakfasts in the lead up to tomorrow because his natural weight is in and around the 170lbs limit. But when you look at the top 10 welterweights, they are enormous.
Johny Hendricks, the ex-champion, and current top contender Tyron Woodley are just two examples of those who cut substantial weight for the division. As such, this is a catchweight bout more than a true welterweight clash.
But regardless, a McGregor win is a statement of intent because for the first time he will face a foe who has a distinct height and reach advantage.
For Diaz to get the upset, he will need to implement a gameplan that utilises those two crucial benefits. Perhaps then McGregor will be cursing himself for a hasty climb rather than the men across the Octagon from him.