The UFC 202 promotional push is about to begin in full.
With UFC 201 in the books, the next UFC pay-per-view event is UFC 202, in just over two weeks. It's an event that happens to have the most anticipated rematch in UFC history, a 170-pound fight between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz. McGregor is the biggest star in the company so the next two weeks will likely be filled with a serious promotional blitz. This started Tuesday when UFC Fight Pass put up an interview by Megan Olivi with Nate Diaz where he talked about his first fight with McGregor and their upcoming rematch.
"So when it first got booked I was like, ‘They want to get me right back in there and try to win this back and weed me out again.' That's how it felt. I'm was like, ‘Can I just sit back for eight months and soak up some popularity and some exposure and just go on vacation and do what I gotta do?' And they were like, ‘We want this' and I'm like, ‘Why so quick? Whatever.' Then the deals got done and I was like, ‘Wow. That payday and this payday in that short amount of time, can't pass that up so let's do it. But I feel like these guys want to weed me right back out, hoping that I lose. Alright, they'd better hope I lose because if I win this one, I'm really taking over."
McGregor and Diaz first fought in March at UFC 196. McGregor was scheduled to face UFC lightweight champion Raphael dos Anjos but shortly before the fight dos Anjos withdrew due to injury. On only 11 days' notice, Diaz stepped in to fight McGregor, ultimately stopping him in the second round with a rear-naked choke. It was seen by many as a catastrophe for the promotion, their biggest star losing to a non-champion on only 11 days' notice. But for Diaz is was a star-making performance. After the fight, he became one of the biggest names in the UFC,
For McGregor, it was a black mark on his otherwise pristine UFC record, a mark he desperately wanted to erase. The rematch was booked quickly for UFC 200 but the fight was pulled from the card when McGregor refused to fulfill all of his mandated media obligations. McGregor retired, then unretired, and then a behind the scenes power struggle occurred. During this cluster, Diaz held out for more money from the UFC. Finally, the rematch was booked for UFC 202 which is now just 17 days away. This time though, Diaz will have the benefit of a full fight camp, which he says is the only thing different about this fight.
"I'm gonna prepare. That's about it. We're gonna see. Same thing like I always say, we'll go out there and my objective is to win. I'm gonna train hard and try to get it done. I believe I'm the superior martial artist. I'm just gonna go in there and get the job done and not get anything I don't expect. My plan is to win and do good and work hard and win the fight. That's my plan and we're gonna have to see what happens."
Nate Diaz rematches Conor McGregor at 170 pounds in the main event of UFC 202 on August 20th in Las Vegas, Nev.
Here is a clip of the interview. The full interview is available on Fight Pass. In it Nate talks about triathlons, his brother Nick, and a host of other subjects.
5 MUST-READ STORIES
Seeking approval. The ABC approves changes to MMA rules and scoring criteria in landslide vote.
Money. Tyron Woodley defends his desire to fight big money fights instead of Stephen Thompson.
Safety first, then teamwork. Carlos Condit thinks Demian Maia "plays it safe."
Illegal. Reebok's women's tank tops would be rendered illegal under proposed change.
Not bad. UFC 201 prelims do 6th best number in Fox Sports 2 history.
EXTRA CREDIT READING
Let them have dope. In light of USADA dominating MMA news, Patrick Hruby of Vice Sports argues for ending the war on doping. Worth a read even if you don't agree with it all.
Teruto Ishihara is a gem.
More CM sparring.
Learn how to be a cornerman.
Chael's short series is pretty tremendous.
Anik and Flo
Jack Slack doing a podcast!
This would be a fun fight.
I wonder why he can't.
The best thing the Diaz brothers ever gave to MMA, which is saying a lot.
Like I said, don't be scared homie. https://t.co/wWaJchQfTQ— Ian McCall (@Unclecreepymma) August 2, 2016
Check the comments to see Tyron go in on Nick.
He ain't wrong.
Is Ronda even going to come back? Seems pretty comfy right now. https://t.co/9lneiJBBKV— michael (@bisping) August 3, 2016
Good week for Nick.
The Bear is back.
As soon as rumors about my title fight comes out, my loyal friend rushed to help me with preparation. But seriously guys, I'm just waiting for phone call with news, that I'm fighting for title. I really want to bring this title to Russia and prove that we deserve it. Как только пошли слухи о моем титульном бое, мой верный друг, как и в старые добрые времена примчался помочь мне готовиться, а если честно друзья я просто жду, жду когда мне позвонят и скажут, Хабиб ты дерёшься за пояс, я искренне хочу привезти этот пояс в Россию и доказать что мы это все заслуживаем.
If you didn't see Invicta over the weekend, you missed some horrible stuff.
Raphael dos Anjos (25-8-0) vs. Tony Ferguson (21-3-0); TUF: Latin America 3 Finale, November 5.
Brandon Thatch (11-4-0) vs. Erick Silva (18-7-1); UFC Fight Night 95, September 24.
Ketlen Vieira (6-0-0) vs. Kelly Faszholz (3-1-0); UFC Fight Night 96, October 1.
Rani Yahya (22-8-1) vs. Michinori Tanaka (11-1-0); UFC Fight Night 95, September 24.
Lena Ovchynnikova (11-4-0) vs. Jaimelene Nievera (4-1-0); Bellator 160, August 26.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2008: Carlos Condit defeated Hiromitsu Miura to defend his WEC welterweight championship at WEC 35. In the co-main event, Steve Cantwell defeated Brian Stann to become the light heavyweight champion and Jamie Varner defeated Marcus Hicks to defend his lightweight championship.
2013: Jose Aldo defended his UFC featherweight title by stopping Chan Sung Jung at UFC 163.
If you have a Fight Pass subscription, I highly recommend you go listen to the full Nate Diaz interview. It's about 20 minutes long and Nate is great in it. Not from a "oh the Diaz brothers say some wild shit" stand point (it's a very tame interview) but in the way that you can see who this guy really is. And the section on his brother and growing up is very good.
Yo, it's hump day y'all. Halfway through the week. Hope the back half is better than the front, and I'll see you tomorrow.
If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting because we post dope things and you should enjoy them.