Monday, August 15, 2022

3 Years Later, Conor McGregor Reflects on First Fight Against Nate Diaz

It’s been three years since Nate Diaz shocked the world by submitting Conor McGregor in the second round of their first fight and the former two-division champion looked back on the battle that set up one of the greatest fights in UFC history in the rematch

Conor McGregor lives by a philosophy taught to him by his coach John Kavanagh that you either win or you learn.

On the third anniversary of his epic first fight against Nate Diaz in 2016, McGregor looked back at the education he received that night to help prepare him for victory in the rematch five months later.

Diaz was chosen as McGregor’s opponent on short notice ahead of UFC 196 after then lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos suffered a foot injury that forced him off the card.

Following a dominant opening round from the Irishman that saw him go for the kill, he felt his lungs burning in the second with Diaz continuing to move forward with an offensive output that was hard to match.

Diaz eventually put together a staggering combination that had McGregor hurt and diving for a takedown. The ill advised move on a waning gas tank allowed Diaz to take full advantage by moving to the mount and then eventually taking McGregor’s back where he locked in the fight ending rear naked choke.

It was the first time McGregor tasted defeat inside the Octagon and it definitely lit a fire under him to change his ways before asking for the rematch later in the year.

“What a sequence!” McGregor wrote on Twitter about his first fight against Diaz. “One of the craziest fights ever. Also the birth of McGregor FAST. The rematch was voted the greatest fight in UFC history. My last one was a bit wild also.

“I love this game. This is my third level of income at this point. I just do it because I love it.”

McGregor continued his reflection on the fight that led him to a different level of conditioning for the rematch while also teaching him patience when seeking a finish against an incredibly durable opponent like Diaz.

He put all those tools to the test the second time around and earned a majority decision victory over Diaz at UFC 202.

“It’s fascinating to me watching that loss back,” McGregor said. “Then watching the comeback. We can always come back! Anyone can do something once. It’s can you do it twice is the question.

“That’s why I doubled up on the belts every time. Any fool can do it once.”

McGregor hasn’t fought since last October when he fell to Khabib Nurmagomedov in the main event at UFC 229.

There were rumors that McGregor would return this summer for a showdown against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone but it appears that fight is no longer in the works.

As of now there’s no date for McGregor’s next fight but obviously the former ‘champ-champ’ is still keeping fresh and ready for his return to action.

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