While Conor McGregor has spoken about his first ever Octagon loss to Nate Diaz before, he never has quite like this.
On Saturday, the reigning UFC Featherweight Champion spoke at an event to promote his coach John Kavanagh’s new book, “Win or Learn,” and opened up at length about the finishing sequence that led to his first ever loss in the UFC.
According to “The Notorious” one, he was toying with Diaz for the first several minutes of their initial meeting, and he feels he will do the same when the two meet again in the main event of UFC 202 in August.
“I’m feeling very confident in myself that I’ll go in and I’ll toy with this man,” McGregor said. “Eight minutes of the fight, I was toying with him. That fadeaway left hand that he caught me with, my senses were still there. It was almost like a fatigue thing that my balance was gone.”
McGregor continued, going even more in-depth into his first loss to Diaz.
“I always look back and question and say, what would have happened if I would have just weathered the storm? He was one or two shots being done, I feel. I feel when that left hand hit, he got this burst of energy. You can see it in his corner, they went insane. It was like they won the lotto. Then I took a couple shots and I shot [for a takedown] and I ended up in that guillotine and then it was just downhill from there. I wonder what would have happened if I just kept my hands up, I kept circling, took the smacks and survived. Eventually his energy that he gained from that left-hand shot would have dipped again and then round three would have began. There’s a lot of questions and stuff I’m confident I can improve next time. I’m going in here confident that I will get this rematch back.”
As Conor goes on to explain, the weight — 170 pounds — and the short notice around it also led to his performance.
“My body almost went into shock and I was stuffing my face and eating everything. I was almost like, I don’t have to make weight, I can train all day long. So we were doing 6-to-8-hour sessions on fight week, swinging on gymnastic rings. Looking back, it wasn’t the best idea and it came back and bit me in the ass. … I was a little bit heavy in the midsection, I was overtrained, my diet wasn’t great and it came back and bit me in the ass. But as Coach always says, we win or we learn, and I have learned and I am focused. I’m staying on my nutrition. I’m very fight-orientated. I’m not swinging on gymnastic rings too much and I certainly won’t be doing it on fight week.”
Finally, McGregor spoke about bringing in some specialists to help him prepare for his second 170-pound meeting with the Stockton native.
“I didn’t actually bring in any southpaws — not one,” McGregor said. “I didn’t spar with any southpaws, because the reason we don’t really care what the opponent is doing is because they always pull out, every damn time. But this time I know Nate is gonna show up. I know I’m gonna be facing a tall, lanky southpaw with a decent lead hand. And that’s it. And now I have brought in tall, lanky southpaws with a solid lead hand, guys with solid jiu-jitsu credentials and John is overlooking every session, managing every session.”
Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor 2 is scheduled to headline the UFC 202 pay-per-view event on Saturday, August 20, 2016 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
H/T to MMAFighting.com for transcribing the above Conor McGregor quotes.