It had been rumored and teased for weeks, as reported here by Jim Genia — and yesterday it was finally made official: Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz will face one another again, at the main event of UFC 200.
The bout will again take place at welterweight, despite McGregor holding the UFC featherweight title, and Diaz mostly making his name at lightweight.
“The biggest fight of 2016 thus far is now slated to be the biggest rematch of the year as well,” read the press release from the UFC to make the event official.
But while everyone seemingly enjoyed their first encounter, which Diaz won by submission — MMA fans, judging by the comments which followed the UFC’s boastful statement, don’t seem to be in agreement with the promotion’s decision for a rematch.
“This rematch is bulls–t!” says one fan.
“This is so stupid,” says another. “How is the ‘Biggest UFC event in History’ not going to have a main event with a title on the line?
“No, no, no, I don’t agree!” commentator Mauro Ranallo bellowed in a recent interview, when inquired about the possibility of the fight taking place. “I don’t understand it. Conor McGregor is one of the few people in MMA who can survive a loss and still be a big-time player… he should be back at 145 defending the title against Frankie Edgar.”
Most of the ailing and grinding of teeth seems to follow the same pattern. The argument goes that title belts should be given priority; and that a return to normality in the featherweight division is more important than any of the entertainment value that the fight may have.
My take? Forget all that. The fight is a great idea.
McGregor is likely done with the featherweight division, with new (and more sensible) restrictions on weight cutting. The MMA world is transitioning to a new era, where the ability to dehydrate oneself down to a lighter weight division is no longer an advantage.
Both fighters will fight at their ideal fighting weight, which is how it should be.
It’s a throwback to a simpler time, when we watched fighters fight and didn’t consider the rankings. To many of us, was a better time. A fight is a fight. In this case, a grudge is a grudge. That’s enough for me.
One savvy observer on my Facebook feed mentioned that the shift may have something to do with the rumored sale of the UFC: “Almost seems like the rumors are true that they are looking to sell the promotion. Letting top fighters go and signing anyone for the pay per view sales.”
Maybe. But I’ll take it. The biggest fight promotion in the world feels like it’s selling fights rather than a product. I like it – and so should you.