McGregor beats Diaz after five rounds during non-title rematch
During their first fight, Nate Diaz shocked the world by tapping out the well-built Conor “The Notorious” McGregor in UFC 196. The unexpected win infuriated McGregor who yearned for a second fight to prove to himself and his fans that his career was not yet over.
“I’ve flown in specific body types to replicate Nate’s skinny, tall frame. The boy won the lotto the last time. He knows it; I know it. Well, Aug. 20 I get my revenge and I look forward to it,” said an eager McGregor in an interview on Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
In their first bout, Diaz was considered the underdog given McGregor’s immaculate knock out record. McGregor had won 17 of 23 career fights by way of knockout, so it was clear why fans and sports broadcasters perceived that McGregor would batter Diaz if they competed.
Combined with the fact that he was given short notice, it is an outstanding achievement that Diaz was able to pull off one of the biggest upsets in UFC history.
“It feels a little different because it’s short notice, and there’s a lot of [stuff] crammed into one little week. But it’s a big show, and I’ve been on a lot of big shows. It’s a big deal because there’s a lot of people here. It’s pretty cool,” said Diaz during an interview on MMA Junkie.
Diaz versus McGregor was the main event at UFC 202, even dubbed “the best fight” of the year by Marc Raimondi of MMAFighting. The pair fought their hearts out in a frenzy that would last all five rounds. Unlike in their first match, Diaz fell short of the stick by losing in a majority decision. Diaz struck hard and often but unfortunately, he was only able to win two rounds—rounds 3 and 5—while “The Notorious” dominated the rest of the fight.
McGregor claims to have learned from his mistakes in the first fight in order to better his chances at winning in the rematch.
“I stayed calm. I bounced the shots off my shoulders. I stayed tight in the pocket. I knew I was gonna have that moment where he was gonna be in my face and dig forehead under my chin and start unloading, so I caught shots and deflected shots and then hit him to the body a couple of times and it turned the momentum again in my favor,” said McGregor.
Indeed, McGregor landed counter shots throughout the fight which, in turn, lead to his three knock downs—one in the first round and two more in the second. Sticking to his game plan, Conor tried his best to keep the fight on his feet, trade shots and keep away from the ground where Diaz would have had a chance at submitting him again. Despite Diaz’s disadvantage in stand-up fighting, he landed numerous punches in the third round to give him the edge.
During the pre-fight press conference, McGregor showed up midway through saying, “I don’t really care much for press conferences; they have gotten me kicked off fight cards before. I’m here to fight… I’m ready for what ever he has to bring.”
However, when the fight came to an end, both fighters showed good sportsmanship and acknowledged one another for their hard work.
“It was not easy, it was a war. I’m happy it went that way. I got to show my heart. I took it to him and I stayed in and got the win, so I’m very happy with it. I’ll tell you what, man, his face was opened up and he’s still just coming. He’s still just coming at me. You’ve gotta respect that. You’ve gotta respect Nate and the style of fighting he brings. How can you not?” said McGregor in the post-fight interview.
The post-fight interviews did feature some controversy, surprisingly, when Diaz appeared to be smoking a marijuana-like substance through an electronic cigarette while seated before the press. When asked about the cigarette, Diaz responded that he was smoking CBD oil, a substance that contains numerous cannabinoids, all of which are banned by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which presides over UFC.
Diaz insisted that the smoke is crucial to his post-fight recovery and helps curb inflammation and stimulate recovery. Nonetheless, Diaz has landed himself in hot water as the USADA is conducting an investigation which can leave the fighter suspended for a significant amount of time.
According to Raimondi, Diaz and McGregor are en route to becoming one of MMA’s greatest rivalries. Because of this, the fighters and even the fans would like to make their rivalry a trilogy and have them compete one more time. After all, they are each tied at one win each, so it would be interesting to see who would be the winner of a third match.