UFC 196 will go down as one of the most exciting and eventful fight cards in the history of the sport. A robust Miesha Tate toppled Holly Holm to become the new Women's Bantamweight Champion and Nate Diaz shocked the world as he submitted Conor McGregor after a bloody two round scrap.
The main event bout was McGregor's first at Welterweight, the decision to move up and face Diaz was made when Conor's original opponent pulled out. 'The Notorious' was initially slated to face Lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos for the title but the match was scrapped when the champion sustained a broken foot.
As interesting as it would have been to see McGregor attempt to become a two weight class champion, the replacement fight was far more fun. Ever since Nate Diaz called out McGregor after defeating Michael Johnson, fans have been clamouring to see the two masters of trash-talk go at it. Even before the post-fight tirade the match-up was, in many people's minds, a dream bout. As well as a great ability to sell fights these two have very unique and entertaining fighting styles. Even the lead up to this contest was exciting, the press conferences were explosive and the fight itself definitely lived up to the hype. What a contest these two put on.
It did not go the distance as Nate Diaz got the submission finish. As is typical of Diaz, he absorbed some punishment early on before hitting his stride and pouring on the pressure once he had warmed up. It was clear to see the heart of the younger Diaz brother when he began to rally after being cut by the Featherweight champion. Nate's boxing skills began to surface as he tagged the Irishman with a staggering shot for the first time in his UFC career. Diaz continued to press the champ with that unorthodox punching style, clinching him against the fence and peppering him with vicious shots, all of which found their mark.
Conor was in danger for the first time in his career. The end came when McGregor shot in for a takedown and entered Diaz's strongest area of MMA. Nate's Gracie Jiu-Jitsu pedigree ultimately took over and he managed to attain full mount. A brief moment went by as the Stockton native dropped some sickening ground and pound on McGregor. It was clear from the dramatic scenes and the reactions of both the crowd and the audience that the winds of change were blowing through MGM Grand Garden Arena. As Conor McGregor turned away from the shots he gave up his back and that was all she wrote.
It seems beating one of the most influential figures in the sport is what it would take for Dana to give Nate his dues. I say this because Dana White recently said that Nate Diaz vs Robbie Lawler "would make a lot of sense". Nathan Diaz has been putting on exciting performances for years now, it is only fair that he get a shot at the Welterweight Championship. If we are no longer going on official rankings then this fight is the best bet. When you look at the pull apart brawl Lawler had with MacDonald it is obvious that he could have a real war with Diaz.
In closing I would like to remark upon the the champ's quality of character. McGregor has done this industry wonders, he is an entertaining individual both inside and outside of the octagon. He handled this loss admirably, what is even more impressive is his ambition and willingness to show up no matter what.