McGregor looks to right initial wrongs in Diaz rematch at UFC 200
Lee Gormley | April 2, 2016
McGregor prepares for second shot at Diaz
After suffering a stunning defeat at the hands of Nate Diaz in March, Conor McGregor has been gifted the opportunity to right his previous wrongs in a scheduled rematch on July 10th in Las Vegas, as the Irishman prepares for another headline fight at UFC 200.
The Dubliner had originally been set to face Rafael dos Anjos for his lightweight strap before the Brazilian withdrew due to an injury sustained in training, leading to a last minute call-up for Diaz to step in.
Despite having little time to prepare, the 30-year-old Stockton fighter prevailed with a second-round submission victory, locking in a solid rear-naked choke hold to force McGregor into sensationally tapping out.
‘The Notorious’ was extremely humble after his maiden UFC loss but was visibly driven for a rematch to prove himself at the higher weight class, and the 27-year-old is 11/8 with Coral to knock out Diaz in the duo’s awaited rematch later this year, as he prepares to enter the octagon with a point to prove.
What McGregor must do to gain result
Immediately after his Diaz defeat, McGregor outlined his key downfall as being the lack of efficiency with his energy, claiming he simply went too hard in the opening round, while his opponent was able to maintain a more promising pace.
To gain redemption at UFC 200, the Dubliner will therefore need to change his approach, with Diaz clearly able to withstand his biggest shots for a prolonged period, something which his former foes at featherweight were unable to do.
A more clinical hit and move outlook may be McGregor’s best bet in the upcoming high-profile rematch, rather than an all-out onslaught, while staying well away from any dangerous takedowns will only boost his chances of success (evens to win).
Before ultimately being submitted last time out, the Irishman rashfully attempted a rare takedown to halt the barrage of solid connections he was taking, proving to be his undoing. Such a mistake is likely to cost him again in July, but he and his coach John Kavanagh will undoubtedly be working hard to avoid another disappointing display.
White tried to stop McGregor rematch
Having unsuccessfully jumped up from 145 pounds to 170 for a welterweight showdown, McGregor looks to be taking a massive career risk in returning to the octagon to face Diaz with the same circumstances, and UFC president Dana White revealed there were widespread attempts to persuade him out of a rematch.
“Lorenzo [Fertitta] and I went up to Conor’s house that he’s renting here in Las Vegas and started talking about what are you thinking, what’s next?” stated White.
“And he was obsessed – obsessed – with fighting Nate Diaz again. Obviously, Lorenzo and I tried to argue with him and say, ‘Let’s go back down to 45 and defend your title, or if you really want the Diaz fight that bad, do it at 55.’
“But he wants to fight at 170. Even his coach, Kavanagh, tried to get him to get off this rematch and off the 170-pound fight but it’s what he wanted. And he’s going to get it.”
A second successive loss to Diaz would potentially hurt McGregor’s current credibility in the UFC, though it wouldn’t be the last of his massive match-ups. White has admitted the Dubliner will defend his featherweight strap against Jose Aldo (7/4 to win) or Frankie Edgar (6/5) afterwards, who both contest on the undercard in July.
“Win, lose, or draw against Nate Diaz, he will go in and he will fight either Jose or Frankie,” continued White.
Kavanagh: Conor wants to address last outing
McGregor’s long-standing mentor Kavanagh may have urged his main man to drop back down divisions, rather than pursue another welterweight meeting, but the relentlessness of his efforts prove the fighter’s unwavering drive and desire to succeed.
“Conor chased this rematch. That’s how it has come about,” admitted Kavanagh. “He’s much more concerned about trying to give a perfect representation of his ability than he is about material things like belts or money.
“That’s just a fact. Money is certainly not a motivating factor anymore because he has already made plenty of it.
“Conor believes that the last fight didn’t accurately reflect the skills and ability he possesses, so he’s eager to address that. He ended up harassing UFC president Dana White and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta on a daily basis for a rematch.
“This is the fight that’s of most interest to him right now.”
Diaz slams UFC and McGregor
Californian Diaz’s stature in the UFC was already strong before his UFC 196 victory, but since the win over McGregor he has undoubtedly witnessed a huge surge in support, and he has blasted the organisation as well as his opponent ahead of July, when he is 5/2 for another submission triumph.
“Since that last fight, have you heard any praise for me from Dana or the UFC? None at all,” slammed Diaz.
“How much praise has that m***** f***** got? I’ve never lost a fight and not wanted to fight the guy 10 minutes later. The UFC is pumping him up again, saying he wants to redeem himself and giving him all this credit for it. It’s like, dude, I’ve been obsessed with every fight I’ve ever lost. This is a gift for him to get it right away.”
“Welcome to my life, m****** f******..”
“He’s saying he’s obsessed? Welcome to my life, m****** f******. That’s the game, and I’ve never gotten my losses back.”
Neither Diaz or McGregor currently call welterweight their home division but, after the Irishman had dictated the initial bout terms, the latter fighter questioned his foe’s character if things were to change from their first meeting.
“He knows that if he goes in and changes circumstances, then that’s weak. It’s not cool to go in and make your own set of rules because you lost on another set,” added Diaz, who is now the odds-on 4/5 favourite.
“If you’re going to avenge your loss, you’ve gotta go out and avenge it for real. It’s like a guy saying, ‘Let’s fight again, but no takedowns.’ That’s weak, and he knows that.”
Since bursting onto the scene, McGregor has caused genuine shockwaves around the UFC. Though, after suffering a maiden setback, the Irishman is relentlessly chasing redemption in a rematch with Diaz, and success during the main event in July would see him clinch his most impressive feat so far in an already esteemed career.
Relive the full UFC 196 main event here, with Nate Diaz having stunningly submitted Conor McGregor in the second round of their initial meeting.