It seems that the current UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor has predicted a first-round knockout in each of his last few fights. Well, he’s continuing the tradition leading up to UFC 196, saying that he’s going to knockout Nate Diaz, who is filling in for Rafael dos Anjos, in the first round of their upcoming welterweight bout.
McGregor did make it clear that he has a lot of respect for Diaz at Wednesday’s UFC 196 press-conference. But, he said that doesn’t change the fact that he’s going to finish him in the first round, much like he did Jose Aldo and Dennis Siver.
“I respect Nate. Don’t get me wrong, I do respect Nate. There are a lot of p***ies in this game and he is not one of them. Don’t get me wrong. There’s a respect there between us, but it’s business in there. And business is business. He will be KO’d inside the first round.”
— #UFCLondon (@ufc) February 24, 2016
Wednesday’s press-conference featured plenty of highlights between Diaz and McGrgeor, as many expected that it would. One of them was Diaz accusing McGregor of being on steroids, which was something that the current featherweight champion was really offended by.
The fight between Diaz and McGregor, which takes place on March 5, will be at 170 pounds. It’ll be the first time that McGregor has fought in the welterweight division, but it probably won’t be the last, as he has made it clear that he wants to win the lightweight title as well as win the welterweight title.
“Look at everyone down there [in the gym]; 180 to 200, easy, everyone. Everyone I’m sparring is well over welterweight. I’ve got middleweights coming in fresh trying to wear me down. You know what I mean? So, why not go up? They get slower and less free up there, I feel. Stiffer. Even more stuck than the lightweight division. I’ll keep going, keep eating, keep training. Keep going until all the belts are wrapped up.”
McGregor also said that he’s planning on winning three championships this year. But, now that his fight with dos Anjos is off for the time being, he may only end the year with two championships. However, McGregor may end up vacating his newly won featherweight title before this year ends because of the difficulty he has making it down to that weight.
There’s a chance that, if McGregor does defeat Diaz, the lightweight title fight between McGregor and dos Anjos will take place at July’s UFC 200 pay-per-view. In fact, there’s a good chance that the fight will happen anyway even if McGrgeor does lose to Diaz on March 5.
The original bout between McGregor and dos Anjos was already expected to do big numbers on pay-per-view, and now that Nate Diaz is involved, the UFC is expected the fight to do even better on pay-per-view.
Before deciding to have Diaz replace dos Anjos, there was some talk of having Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone fight McGregor on March 5. Cerrone even said that he’d have no problem taking the fight. But ultimately, UFC president Dana White felt that Diaz vs. McGregor was the fight to make.
Diaz vs. McGregor will be an interesting match-up — it’ll be the first time that McGregor doesn’t have the reach advantage over his opponent.
Also, Diaz is one of the best boxers in the sport, on top of being an elite ground-fighter. So, while McGregor is the favorite, he may be in a lot of trouble on March 5.
(Featured image via Esther Lin / MMA Fighting)