Conor McGregor v Nate Diaz
March 5, 2016
Conor McGregor made no secret of the fact he wanted to step up in weight and fight at lightweight division. The 155-pound belt was in his sights as he wanted to replicate what he had achieved in Cage Warriors. Reigning champion Rafael dos Anjos told McGregor following his victory over Donald Cerrone to stay in the featherweight division.
Anjos responded to McGregor’s request saying “It’s better to stay in the featherweight division. I will fight you in Brazil, I will go to Ireland to fight you there, whatever one, man, I’m here to stay. The fight was scheduled for the UFC Lightweight Championship on 5 March at UFC 196 (then known as UFC 197). The event would be held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. However, just as things looked like they were going to happen Anjos withdrew from the fight with a broken foot he sustained during training. In a frantic search to find another opponent, it was looking doubtful as the fight date got closer. That was until it was announced that Nate Diaz would be stepping in to fight McGregor on 13 days’ notice instead.
McGregor opted to allow the fight to go ahead at 170-pound Welterweight division, letting Diaz get “comfortable” rather than making him cut weight in such a short period of time. On 24 February 2016, a press conference was held and already the bad blood was flowing between both fighters as McGregor constantly dug at Diaz, making mention of the lack of money Diaz had, and how he was not a second or third option but way down the pecking order. Diaz responded is slightly fewer words using expletives claiming McGregor fights kids and hasn’t fought a man yet. At the Thursday pre-fight press conference on 3 March, the two almost started the fight earlier than the scheduled date as they had to be separated following a brief scuffle, during which McGregor struck Diaz on the hand.
On the night of the fight, McGregor started in his usual unpredictable style of switching stances. He let go his left hook and had great success catching Diaz early on in the fight. Diaz responded with a counter right, connecting with McGregor and stopping his forward movement. Both fighters gave a good account of themselves in the first round and as promised, both fighters had come to take the fight to each other.
The second round started pretty much as the first round ended, with both fighters going at each other. McGregor stunned Diaz with a chopping left hook at which Diaz taunted McGregor, insinuating he had no power and that his punches meant nothing. As the second round-headed into the last two minutes, McGregor attempted a double leg takedown, Diaz successfully sprawling to avoid the shot. Diaz, hands clasped around McGregor’s neck, threatening the guillotine choke. This put McGregor in a dangerous position, especially with the highly respected floor skills Diaz possessed. Diaz secured the mount, before firing off a volley of strikes from the top. In an effort to avoid the assault, McGregor gave up his back, allowing Diaz to punch his head into the crook of his arm, and secure a rear naked choke. Once secured and Diaz applied pressure McGregor was left no other option than to tap out and accept defeat. A defeat that broke his string of fifteen consecutive wins.
After the loss and in a post-fight interview McGregor evaluated the contest, stating that “I felt I took the first round, but I was inefficient with my energy. But I’m humble in victory or defeat. I respect Nate, he came in, he took the fight on short notice, came in at 170, and done the job. He was efficient, I was not efficient. That was it, I feel.” Regarding the future, McGregor said he would “face it like a man, like a champion, and come back and do it again.”
McGregor was true to his words and did exactly that. August 20 2016, was the date and Las Vegas, Nevada, United States was the location. McGregor v Diaz was the rematch and a fight that was to go the distance. McGregor won the rematch via majority decision (48-47, 47-47, 48-47) Diaz was upset with the decision, he thought he had done enough to win the fight. In true Diaz style, he let off a torrent of foul mouth abuse, accused the result of already being decided before they fought and that the UFC didn’t like him as the champion, he didn’t fit the profile they wanted heading up the UFC campaigns.
On September 27, it was officially announced that McGregor’s next bout would be against Eddie Alvarez for the UFC Lightweight Championship on November 12 at UFC 205. McGregor made no mistake, beating Alvarez in the second round by a technical knockout to win the UFC Lightweight Championship.
McGregor has continued to impress and has made no attempt to hide from any challenger who has stepped up to the mat. Now he will face probably his toughest ever fight, as he will go toe to toe with five weight World champion, Floyd Money Weather inside a boxing ring. As expected McGregor has dismissed the fight, telling the press that boxing is easy, he only has to think about one aspect of fighting, unlike in mixed martial arts, a sport where he has to prepare for a full on war!
August 26th is the date, make sure you tune in and watch what could be one of the greatest fights of the century.