While the pre-fight talk going into UFC 196 was that with a welterweight victory over Nate Diaz, UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor could conceivably challenge for the UFC Welterweight Championship against Robbie Lawler, perhaps at the landmark UFC 200 event in July. After less than two rounds with Diaz inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena, all of that went away for McGregor, and UFC analyst Kenny Florian thinks he knows why.
Florian spoke with fellow UFC analyst Jon Anik during their most recent podcast about his belief that Saturday’s outcome was a case of “too much, too soon” for “The Notorious” Conor McGregor.
“Conor, while he’s super slick, and I still think he was the more slick boxer, he was not the more consistent boxer. When you go up in weight and you’re used to fighting at a certain weight and carrying that extra weight you’re not going to be as efficient as you normally are. You’re going to expend more energy fighting at that weight. I think Conor didn’t take that into account.
“The other thing is I don’t think Conor respected Nate Diaz. He didn’t respect Nate Diaz the way you should. He didn’t think his chin was going to be able to hold up. He thought his punches were going to land and Nate Diaz was just going to crumble. He underestimated him.”
Florian continued to give his take on the fight, claiming McGregor said some of it best himself.
“The other thing is, and Conor kinda of talked about this, is his lack of efficiency. Conor was trying to knock him out with every shot. Before he realized that he was tired, it was too late. I think that was the difference. When he saw that Nate Diaz was still walking forward, still throwing shots and landing them, I think mentally it broke Conor.
“He goes, ‘My god, against other normal human beings, 145-pounders, these guys crumbled with the power.’ I think that really threw him for a loop. He didn’t expect Nate Diaz to stay standing like that.”
KenFlo outright stated that he feels McGregor should return to the division he is champion of, UFC’s 145-pound featherweight class.
“He’s got to go down to 145, first of all. He’s got to defend his belt at 145 pounds. I would like to see him face Frankie Edgar. That’s just what I would like to see. For Conor, as champion, I’m going to go with whatever is going to bring me the most money. What do the fans want to see?
“We saw the Jose Aldo fight, give another guy a shot. I know Aldo was the champion for a very long time. He certainly has an argument to get that rematch, however, I’d like to see a fresh face in this case. I think Frankie deserves it. He’s been waiting in the wings for a very long time. Give the kid a shot.”
H/T for Transcribing: MMAFighting.com