As we kick off the run-up to UFC 202, have enemies become friends?
When Conor McGregor was announced to coach on The Ultimate Fighter alongside Urijah Faber, we quickly saw him try to create animosity between himself and his opponent, and to his credit, it worked.
When McGregor is in direct competition with someone, he will do everything he can to take the other man out of his comfort zone, and so Faber engaged and we saw the bickering and jeering that went down on the first few episodes of that show. But then things changed. As the two spent so much time in each other's company, they got a better look at who the other person was, and eventually became friends. Conor now refers to Faber as 'brother' when he sees him.
Nate Diaz certainly isn't there yet, but it is quite clear that both he and McGregor are approaching this fight totally differently to the first time, and if nothing else, it's cool to see.
The UFC 202: McGregor Vs Diaz media conference call was streamed live on YouTube and clearly showed the mutual respect that has emerged between the two fighters. Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor even teamed up to answer back to a reporter who they weren't best pleased with.
The most outrageous thing Conor said in the call was that WWE superstars are messed up pussies.
For the most part, those WWE guys are pussies to be honest. They're messed up pussies if you ask me. I mean fair play to Brock he got in and fought but at the end of the day he's juiced up to the fuckin' eyeballs so how I can respect that?
The most stinging barb, and it wasn't intended for his opponent.
Instead, McGregor spoke with respect when talking about Nate. As he should, the first fight was won fair and square, but Diaz returned the favour and decided not only to not attack McGregor, but to praise him for not submitting to the guillotine before eventually submitting to the RNC.
It was a fight it was just kind of happening how it was happening, I was surprised that he wouldn't - a lot of fighters quit when I put them in that guillotine they're done, they stay on top they get finished finished, but I could tell he was tryin' to stay in there.
He didn't give up, but there was nowhere to go.
The question that provoked that response was something that Conor McGregor took exception to. The reporter asked Nate if he was surprised how quickly Conor had tapped, and the Dubliner wasn't impressed, stating that he would like to see the reporter in there before he talks about a quick tap.
And Diaz agreed. It may have been missed by most, but after Conor McGregor said the following:
I hear people talkin' about that shit but, fuck people, you know what I mean? I come in to fight and that's it people can say what the fuck they want.
You can hear Nate say "word."
That is far removed from Conor and Nate going back and forth, McGregor's infamous balloon animals line and Diaz ripping the piss out of Ido Portal. The two men who will contest the main event of UFC 202 are very different to the two men who did so at UFC 196.
There is respect when before there was none, and that alone should make anyone on the fence about whether or not this rematch was a good idea accept how fascinating it proves to be.
Both fighters will have had full camps, both fighters are focused and aware of their opponent's threat, and both fighters just want to fight.
August 20th can't come soon enough.
You can watch the UFC 202 Conference Call in full below: