After 41 events staged and hundreds of brawls, last Saturday, December 19th, the UFC hosted its last fight card of 2015 at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. Maybe, not even half of the events were as spectacular as I could have wished for, but certainly the UFC closed the year with a stunning accurate one-two combination.
With astounding fights, dramatic finishes, and great comebacks, Saturday’s event set the pace of what’s coming next year, leaving high expectations between mix martial arts fans.
Just one week before UFC on Fox 17 dos Anjos vs. Cerrone 2 event, Conor McGregor was snatching away Jose Aldo’s featherweight champion belt with a single punch. Knocking Aldo in 13 seconds of the first round.
In the same night, Luke Rockhold became the new middleweight UFC Champion, after destroying Chris Weidman with vicious ground and pound in the 4th round. And, to set the combo up, one month before, Holly Holm was landing a devastating head kick and knocking the –up to that moment– unbeatable Ronda Rousey at UFC 193.
All of these events left the expectations open of several divisions considered dominated before, making a pretty interesting 2016 to come. However, none of them seemed to have such a strong impact than McGregor’s fast KO and Nate Diaz comeback. Two solid blows that UFC landed in its last two events, just in time to save a not so good year and all suddenly making 2016 interesting.
The Call Out
Conor McGregor became the one to watch after his stunning KO over Jose Aldo. Finishing Aldo’s impressive 10-year undefeated streak, record. Immediately, rumors of whom should he fight next began.
Of course, Jose Aldo asked for the immediate rematch, but McGregor didn’t seem focused on the matter. Therefore, the possibility of eventually moving up to the lightweight division seemed probable.
After Saturday’s event, the possibility became stronger and even demanding of the mix martial arts fans. First, was Charles Oliveira who choked Myles Jury in 3:05 minutes of the first round. After the bout, Oliveira said to McGregor: “I’m coming for you, Conor, I’m going to get you.”
Of course, the Brazilian also had some words for Conor McGregor: “Listen, McGregor, if you want to come to the lightweight division, this is my division,” said dos Anjos, per Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com.
However, no one talks the talk and walks the walk like the Diaz brothers, and Nate Diaz showed to dos Anjos and Oliveira how it’s done. Diaz had an amazing comeback last Saturday after losing three of his last four bouts, and he destroyed any rumors or doubts about his fighting career.
Nate defeated a talented and dangerous Michael Johnson with the unique, cocky, mind playing, lethal style of the Diaz brothers, earning the “Fight Of The Night” price. As soon as Diaz had the chance, he took advantage of the spotlight and called out McGregor.
“Conor McGregor, you’re taking everything I worked for, mother f—-r. I’m gonna fight your f—–g ass. You know what’s the real fight, what’s the real money fight — me. Not these clowns that you already punked at the press conference. Ain’t nobody wants to see that. You know you can beat them already. It’s an easy fight. You want the real s–t. Right here!” Said Diaz.
Faithful to his style Conor simply answered via Twitter:
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) December 20, 2015
“Line them up on their knees with their hands out. I want them to beg me.” pic.twitter.com/YCYf0QslNR
These are precisely the kind of seasoning the UFC needed to spice up next year’s fight cards. An accurate one-two combination landed by the mix martial arts promotion industry to set 2016. Which already has in its menu the Lawler vs. Condit, Dillashaw vs. Cruz and the Werdum vs. Velazques bouts.