McGregor first fought Diaz in the main event of UFC 196. The “Notorious” one was going to challenge Rafael dos Anjos for the UFC lightweight title but dos Anjos was injured. McGregor ended up getting submitted in the second round via rear-naked choke.
McGregor Talks Being Hesitant To Kick In First Diaz Fight
Taking to his Instagram account, McGregor posted a story explaining why he was hesitant in throwing leg kicks at Diaz during their first encounter (h/t BJPenn.com).
“I actually chose not to follow through with this kick in this exact moment,” McGregor wrote. “The sensation felt horrible and I backed out of following through with it. Fight would have been stopped no doubt though. I [had] the angle on the leg and had it primed to snap. I bottled it but it felt too nasty. Even for me. Fast forward a few minutes later and I’m on the deck getting strangled. Mad game.”
McGregor ended up having a rematch with Diaz in Aug. 2016. The “Notorious” one emerged victorious via majority decision. Both men have teased going one-on-one a third time but the trilogy bout hasn’t come to fruition.
Since the two bouts with Diaz, McGregor became a UFC lightweight champion, which meant he was the first fighter under the UFC banner to hold two titles simultaneously as he already held featherweight gold. The “Notorious” one also had a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather, which he ended up losing via 10th-round TKO.
Diaz’s star power skyrocketed after his bouts with McGregor. Many wondered how Diaz would fare in terms of fan interest without McGregor. It became quite clear that he was the main star of UFC 241, which was headlined by a heavyweight title rematch between Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic. On that night, Diaz defeated Anthony Pettis via unanimous decision.