Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor have spent an entire year indulging in psychological warfare through interviews, press conferences and social media. Judgement day is finally upon us, as the MMA world braces itself for the biggest fight in UFC history.
The hallowed halls of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas will play host to the undisputed featherweight title fight at UFC 194 between Aldo and McGregor. Months of teasing has swelled like a balloon ready to burst with anticipation for one night. The time for talking has ended.
UFC 189 was slated to be the original meeting place for the featherweight stars back in July, but Aldo was forced to pull out of the fight on short notice after suffering a rib injury in training. Given the magnitude of the event and Aldo’s persistent injury history, UFC President Dana White created an interim title, and top featherweight contender Chad Mendes agreed to step in as a last-minute replacement against McGregor.
The scope of the event was unlike anything ever seen in the UFC. Legendary song artists Sinead O’Connor and Aaron Lewis performed live entrance music during the main event. Fans showed up to the weigh-ins like it was fight night.
McGregor stopped Mendes in the second round by TKO, but even after the fight, it was hard to shake the feeling that we were merely feasting on hors d’oeuvres in front of a main course meal.
If McGregor vs. Mendes was that big, imagine what Aldo vs. McGregor would be like.
Imagination turned to reality on Friday at the official weigh-ins of UFC 194. Thousands of screaming fans made it impossible to tell the difference between weigh-in and fight night. Irish flags were flying as McGregor stepped through the curtains to an eruption of cheers. He tipped the scales at 145 pounds. Aldo (145), on the other hand, was welcomed with a chorus of boos.
White made the wise choice of bracing himself for a pre-fight scuffle during the customary staredown, which was every bit as intense as expected. When speaking with UFC commentator Joe Rogan, McGregor vowed to bring undisputed gold back to his homeland:
“I’m sick of talking about Jose. I visualize and I look at his facial features, and I know that the soft parts of his face won’t be able to take my shots. I just want to thank the Irish people for coming out here for me. It means everything. Tomorrow night I will bring that gold home to Ireland once again.”
Aldo, who is always a man of few words, has a different ending in mind.
“I don’t care what he has to say. The thing is I’m coming in here tomorrow night and I’m going to be the champion,” said Aldo.
This colossal pay-per-view event also features a middleweight title fight between Chris Weidman and Luke Rockhold, a title eliminator bout between Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Yoel Romero, a welterweight contender’s fight between Demian Maia and Gunner Nelson and an important featherweight tilt between Max Holloway and Jeremy Stephens.
The full results from Friday’s weigh-ins are listed below:
Main card (Pay-Per-View at 10 p.m. ET)
Jose Aldo (145) vs. Conor McGregor (145)
Chris Weidman (185) vs. Luke Rockhold (185)
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (186) vs. Yoel Romero (185)
Demian Maia (170) vs. Gunnar Nelson (170)
Max Holloway (146) vs. Jeremy Stephens (145)
Preliminary Card (FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET)
Urijah Faber (136) vs. Frankie Saenz (135)
Tecia Torres (116) vs. Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger (116)
Warlley Alves (171) vs. Colby Covington (170)
Leonardo Santos (156) vs. Kevin Lee (156)
Fight Pass Prelims (UFC Fight Pass at 6:30 p.m. ET)
Joe Proctor (155.5) vs. Magomed Mustafaev (155)
John Makdessi (156) vs. Yancy Medeiros (155.5)
Court McGee (170) vs. Marcio Alexandre Jr. (171)