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UFC 196 fight card primer: Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz

Bloody Elbow presents a preview of UFC 196: McGregor vs. Diaz in our fight card primer series. Here we look at the main event: Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

In the main event at UFC 196: McGregor vs. Diaz, UFC Featherweight champion Conor McGregor (19-2 MMA; 7-0 UFC) moves up two weight classes to Welterweight to face Nate Diaz (18-10 MMA; 13-8 UFC). This five round fight caps off the five fight UFC 196 PPV main card. The UFC rankings have McGregor as the #3 pound for pound fighter, while Diaz is #5 at Lightweight. Neither man is ranked at 170. UFC 196: McGregor vs. Diaz airs live from Las Vegas this Saturday, March 5. The main card airs on PPV with a fight time of 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT, with the prelims starting at  8:00 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 and 6:30 p.m. ET on Fight Pass.

For a late replacement fight, this main event is a pretty terrific match-up. Originally, this was McGregor challenging Rafael dos Anjos for the UFC Lightweight title, but a dos Anjos injury forced him out and brought Diaz in. In the process, we lost McGregor's chance to become a simultaneous two division champion - an accomplishment no one else has ever achieved in UFC history - but we gained a much more dynamic personality in Diaz. These are two of the most brash men in the sport today and their war of words has been heating up, so expect big fireworks Saturday night.

How do these two stack up?

McGregor: 27 years old | 5'9" | 74" reach
Diaz: 30 years old | 6'0" | 76" reach

What have these two done recently?

McGregor: W - Jose Aldo (KO) | W - Chad Mendes (TKO) | W - Dennis Siver (TKO)
Diaz: W - Michael Johnson (UD) | L - Rafael dos Anjos (UD) | W - Gray Maynard (TKO)

How did these two get here?

"The Notorious" Conor McGregor has seen a meteoric rise in the past two years, including an absolutely huge, superstar making year in 2015. That year saw him coach The Ultimate Fighter, defeat Chad Mendes, knock out the #1 pound for pound fighter in the world Jose Aldo in one minute, claim his first UFC title, and become the clear face of the company. He rubs many people the wrong way, but there's no denying what he has accomplished, and no guessing what his future may hold.

Nate Diaz has been in the UFC ever since TUF 5. He's a former Lightweight title challenger, and has been a marquee fighter for years. That position comes from both his high level skills in boxing and jiu jitsu, and his outgoing personality. Diaz floundered a bit in recent years, taking only one fight in a two year period from 2013-2015 (and losing that fight). But he comes in here off a terrific win over Michael Johnson last December that ended with a heavily censored, profanity-laden call-out of McGregor. He gets his wish here.

Why should you care?

These two just don't have boring fights, period. McGregor is also arguably the single most "must-watch" fighter in the sport today. You can't miss this.