Conor McGregor is just days away from the most pivotal fight in his career to date as he battles Nate Diaz for the second time at UFC 202 in Las Vegas.
The Irishman is looking for revenge after submitting to his California-born foe in the second round at UFC 196. Should McGregor fail to secure the win this time around, his drawing power may take a significant hit.
However, the Notorious One still believes he is the number one attraction in the UFC at present and that will show this weekend. This fight was originally scheduled for UFC 200, but when McGregor did not want to fulfill his media obligations the rematch was put on hold.
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Without the featherweight champion at the company's biggest event, McGregor believes the card "bombed."
"People spend a lot of money to come see me fight from my hometown, and they had already purchased tickets, so I wanted to get back on that card. They weren't having it. They didn't put me in the card—that's okay—and the card bombed,” McGregor said. “I was ringside. The fights weren't great, but now here we are.”
Bombed might be a bit of a strong word, but it certainly didn't break every record in sight like the company had hoped for such a landmark event.
Forbes reported that the attendance for UFC 200 was 18,202 with a record live gate of $10.7 million, which surpassed UFC 196’s - where McGregor v Diaz I took place - previous record of 16,516 fans with a gate over $10 million.
However, MMA journalist Dave Meltzer said on ESPN radio that UFC 200 failed to surpass the pay-per-view numbers of not only UFC 196, but also UFC 100 and UFC 193.
There's no doubt that Jon Jones' late withdrawal from the card did not help, but even if Meltzer is correct and UFC 200 does reside in the top four PPVs of all-time for the UFC, then it surely cannot be considered a bomb?
It might not have achieved the lofty expectations the UFC originally imagined, sure.
However, McGregor has been in a serious promotion mode for the past month now and has had a controversial opinion on just about anything you can imagine. Will that translate to pay-per-view buys on Saturday night?