Nate Diaz 2½ (EV) -105
Conor McGregor 2½ (-120) -115
As people who bet on UFC are well aware of, this is an epic clash that has been, wait for it… are you ready? All of four months in the making – or in the remaking, to be more specific. Of course, all the back-and-forth bickering, will-they-or-won’t-they drama between McGregor and Dana White made it seem a lot longer. But at least they finally got around to settling on a date and place – GGG and Canelo should be taking notes. And now let’s get on the Wayback Machine for a little back story.
It all started a long, long time ago, in March, 2016. Current UFC Featherweight Champion and walking Irish stereotype Conor McGregor was slated to face current UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 196 (formerly known as Hendricks vs. Thompson). However, Dos Anjos dropped out of the fight on account of a broken foot. Both featherweight champ Jose Aldo as well as Frankie Edgar – a firsty firsty – declined to replace Dos Anjos, citing lack of time and a groin injury, respectively. At last, Ultimate Fighter 5 winner Nate Diaz said what the hell, I’ll do it.
To make a short story even shorter, Diaz upset UFC betting odds and submitted McGregor at 4:12 of the second round with a rear naked choke – Conor must’ve forgotten the safety word. How very Michael Bisping of Diaz. In MacGregor’s defense, he had to move up weight so the fight could take place in the welterweight division. The rematch was scheduled to occur at UFC 200 on July, but the Dana White pulled the Irishman from the card after he refused to promote the event. Huh. One would have thought Conor would have been eager to hype the show in which he would avenge his first UFC loss – what with his being the biggest trash talker in the game.
Eventually though, White and UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta reached an agreement – to paraphrase Rod Tidwell, they showed him the money. As a result, ‘Notorious’ will square off again against Diaz, a longtime favorite of fans who bet on UFC. I’m not very familiar with the Chinese calendar, but 2016 must be the Year of the Underdog, as far as UFC betting is concerned. Diaz beat McGregor, Miocic beat Werdum, Bisping beat Rockhold, and on August 20th at UFC 202 we will go full circle with Diaz vs. McGregor II. Scratch that; better make it McGregor vs. Diaz II. I’m sure he’d like top billing.