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UFC 194: A Complete A-to-Z Preview

(Oh, just f*ck and get it over with already. via Getty.)

By Nasir Jabbar

The MMA gods have, for the most part, safely guided one of the most stacked cards in UFC history to fruition. Amidst those ever-prevalent claims of oversaturation, the UFC have mustered up an ubercard for the ages. Featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo will finally defend his title against interim champion Conor McGregor. Middleweight champion Chris Weidman takes on No.1 contender Luke Rockhold in the co-main event. Then you’ve got Romero vs. Souza, Maia vs. Nelson…the list goes on and on.

Nation, it’s been an emotional journey. An unprecedented world media tour. Fractured ribs. Interim titles. More heated staredowns. These have all led to this mammoth main-event. I don’t know about you, but I’m giddy with excitement as months of trash-talking all culminate this weekend. To honour this epic event, I’ve compiled an A-to-Z list previewing each and every aspect of UFC 194. Join me?

A is for Anderson Aldo…Er, Afraid

Chael Sonnen believes both main-eventers are afraid of losing heading into their unification clash. Does the American gangster have a point or is it just a bunch of BS?

B is for Butter

Rockhold’s stand-up skills pave the way for his buttery smooth ground game. Weidman will have to be wary of the former Strikeforce champions efficiency on the mat.

C is for Coaches

As well as the primed fighters, the two title-bouts also pit masterful coaches against one another in Pederneiras vs. Kavanagh and Longo/Serra vs. Cook/Mendez.

D is for Division I

The middleweight challenger does indeed own a fierce, aggressive jiu-jitsu game, but Weidman brings his Division I wrestling credentials to the table pitting the two noble disciplines.

E is for EA Sports Cover

Bragging rights and UFC gold isn’t the only carrot dangling for the unification winner, as the victor will also be the second fighter on the cover of EA Sports UFC 2 alongside Ronda Rousey. Game on.

F is for Flying Under The Radar

The main-card will open in style with Max Holloway vs. Jeremy Stephens, a fight that is largely flying under the radar when compared to the simply epic fights that come after it. Come to think of it, the whole card other than Aldo-McGregor is flying under the radar.

G is for Game of Thrones

Because MMA training is so injury-free and safe (!!), McGregor recently decided to spar with 6’9, 418lbs Hafthor Julius Bjornsson a.k.a ‘The Mountain’ from Game of Thrones.

H is for Hollywood

Don’t be surprised to see ‘The Notorious’ in movie theatres near you in the future. McGregor claims Hollywood is screaming for him, so let’s hope it doesn’t get to his head like certain other fighters.

I is for Interim

Interim champion McGregor doesn’t want to be labelled as interim champion, which, okayyyyy.

J is for Jiu-Jitsu

Ice-cool Gunnar Nelson will take on the equally stoic Demian Maia. Two of the finest jiu-jitsu practitioners on the planet going head-to-head, which can only mean that a sloppy stand-up war is what will ensue.

K is for Kicks

Rockhold’s kicks > Aldo’s kicks. Yeah, I said it.

L is for Lightweight

Win or lose, is McGregor planning his exit from the featherweight division? He’s stated on numerous occasions about his intentions of challenging for the 155lbs title, and has already talked his way into a fight with the Donald Cerrone-Rafael Dos Anjos lightweight title winner.

M is for Movement

Being a so-called “student of movement” with an obsession over the mechanics of the human anatomy, McGregor linked up with martial art guru Ido Portal recently, as seen in the UFC 194 embedded vlog series, where he polished and further enhanced his range of movements.

N is for Newcomer

Newcomer Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger would make a huge statement in the women’s strawweight division if she could take out the No.5 ranked Tecia Torres.

O is for “Overaggressive”

According to Rockhold, the undefeated champion is “overaggressive” and “clumsy.” Does anyone agree with the challenger’s statement?

P is for Pay

In case you were worried that MMA referees are overpaid, they’re not. ‘Big’ John McCarthy will make a measly $1,900 for reffing Aldo-McGregor. Stay classy, NSAC.

Q is for Quality

The quality of the top three fights goes without saying, but the combined record of those 6 fighters, in case you were wondering? 102-9. Ridiculous.

R is for Retirement

Is Aldo retiring after UFC 194? One of his primary sparring partners Andy Souwer suggested that this could be his final bout. (Oh, Dana’s face if Aldo murders his golden goose and then pulls a “GSP”.) The champ’s since denied such talk, but with his icy relationship among some of UFC’s brass and his head coach pondering his own future, I wouldn’t rule out retirement.

S is for Sneaky

Aldo’s sneaky-good wrestling, as displayed against Mark Hominick and Chan Sung Jung, coupled with his jiu-jitsu black belt could be his way to victory against McGregor, whose only losses have come on the ground.

T is for Tyson Fury

Newly minted boxing heavyweight champion of the world has some choice words about McGregor. Fury insists that the brash Dubliner has copied everything he does – you know, minus the awful singing and the homophobic/sexist remarks. Despite this the controversial boxing figure is a fan of his.

U is for Urijah Faber

Urijah Faber is the pound-for-pound king of headlining prelims. At UFC 194, he’ll be taking on huge underdog Frankie Saenz in the coveted “featured prelim” slot once again.

V is for Vocal

Come fight night, The MGM Grand Garden Arena is going to be a melting pot of vocal Irish and Brazilian fans. Event security is going to have their hands full.

W is for Weapons

It seems fans and critics alike are heavily obsessing over the possible inefficacy of Aldo’s leg-kicks due to McGregor’s southpaw stance. Newsflash: the Brazilian has many other potent weapons in his arsenal like the power in his hands as well as his stellar ground game.

X is for X-Rated

Middleweight champion Chris Weidman recently recalled his worst injury on Huffington Post Live. FYI: It’s penis-related.

Y is for Yawn

The constant comparison between McGregor and Ali is just becoming boring, to the point that even McGregor thinks they’re a bit outlandish.

Z is for Zero

The amount of times Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza and Yoel Romero have fought, despite being booked to fight some three times already.

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