UFC 196 and it’s marquis match-ups got the green light with Friday’s weigh-in at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The card was originally slated to be a match-up of featherweight champion Conor McGregor setting his belt to the side to move up to 155 pounds to challenge lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos. If he won, it would have made him the first champion in UFC history to hold two belts in two weight classes simultaneously.
After dos Anjos dropped out of the bout due to injury, UFC 196 lost little of its luster when Nate Diaz agreed to step up on short notice to fight McGregor, albeit at welterweight, with no belt on the line.
After Thursday’s melee at the pre-fight press conference, there was an army of police and security on and around the stage as McGregor and Diaz weighed in.
Although they jumped towards each other, and there were some one-fingured salutes flying around, UFC president Dana White didn’t let McGregor or Diaz get near each other during the face-off.
The match-up became official on Friday when McGregor weighed in at 168 pounds and Diaz stepped on the scale at 169.
“I’m here to kill or be killed,” Diaz told Joe Rogan after weighing in.
McGregor took a more mild-mannered approach about the match-up, saying, “It’s another day for me. I’m just giggling at his little soft body. How can a fat guy be so skinny at the same time? Weight shouldn’t be an issue. Champions should be able to go up or down at any time.”
Even though there’s no title on the line, McGregor and Diaz maintain the headlining spot, while the co-main event, a championship bout, remained steady in the No. 2 slot on the card.
Women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm will make the first defense of the belt she won by knocking out Ronda Rousey at UFC 193 in November. She puts the gold on the line against Miesha Tate, who twice lost to Rousey, and found new championship life when Holm toppled her in Australia.
Neither Holm nor Tate had any issues making weight. They had an intense staredown, but shook hands before exiting the stage.
UFC 196: McGregor vs. Diaz Weigh-in Results
Main Card (on Pay-Per-View)
Conor McGregor (168) vs. Nate Diaz (169)
Holly Holm (134.5) vs. Miesha Tate (135)
Gian Villante (205) vs. Ilir Latifi (205)
Corey Anderson (204) vs. Tom Lawlor (204.5)
Amanda Nunes (136) vs. Valentina Shevchenko (134)
Prelims (on FOX Sports 1)
Brandon Thatch (170) vs. Siyar Bahadurzada (170)
Erick Silva (170) vs. Nordine Taleb (170)
Vitor Miranda (185.5) vs. Marcelo Guimaraes (185.5)
Darren Elkins (145.5) vs. Chas Skelly (145.5)
Prelims (on UFC Fight Pass)
Diego Sanchez (156) vs. Jim Miller (155.5)
Jason Saggo (155.5) vs. Justin Salas (156)
Julian Erosa (144.5) vs. Teruto Ishihara (146)