Conor in for the kill; UFC star vows revenge as he clashes with Diaz during Vegas weigh-in.
Byline: LAURA LYNOTT
THE country was waiting with baited breath this morning to see if Conor McGregor would keep his UFC crown.
The Notorious was his usual fiery self telling Nate Diaz he would "kill" him in the ring as the pair faced off in Las Vegas.
With a loud Irish crowd backing him, it seemed nothing was going to stop the featherweight world champ in this revenge grudge match.
The 28-year-old Dubliner is without doubt a tour de force in a sport most people in Ireland had very little knowledge of only a few years ago.
But one thing is for sure - most of Ireland wanted the controversial multi-millionaire McGregor to win after the fighter suffered a humiliating defeat to Diaz earlier this year.
Former One Direction singer Niall Horan was part of the Irish army supporting McGregor in Las Vegas. He tweeted: "The Irish were at it again ...the support for @ TheNotoriousMMA out here is incredible. @ufc #UFC202."
While TV chef Gordan Ramsay kept it short and simple, tweeting: "Can't wait for #UFC202 tomorrow!!!" McGregor looked pumped up with rage at the weigh-in, with the two having to be held back from each other - perhaps a mark of both competitors' showmanship for the crowd.
Meanwhile, footage on the star's website Themaclife.com showed a much more relaxed side as he laughed and chatted with his team.
While on live TV he told fans on Friday night before storming off the stage: "He should've killed me when he had the chance because now I'm back and I'm going to kill you and your whole f*****g team".
Diaz barked back: "I train always hard to kill. He's already dead from the last time. It's a new guy. It's killed or be killed again. USA mother******s."
Up and down the country McGregor fans were last night preparing for an all-night fest kicking off at 3am - and the main event coming two hours later.
It was hoped McGregor could restore some national pride in the welterweight bout, especially after Ireland's involvement in the Olympics has been tainted by doping, dubious judging in the boxing ring and a ticketing scandal.
But UFC bosses were remaining unusually tight-lipped on ticket and pay-per-view sales amid rumours they were down heavily from previous fights.
A spokeswoman for the organisation would only say the event was "in the top five".
He should have killed me when he had the chance because now I'm going to kill you CONOR MCGREGOR has a dig at american fighter nate diaz
CHEST GREAT Conor shows off his physique
FIRED UP Pointing his finger at Diaz
SHOWDOWN UFC's Nate Diaz & Conor McGregor are kept apart at Las Vegas weigh-in