The ‘Notorious’ Conor McGregor received his first UFC loss early this morning as Nate Diaz defeated the Irishman at UFC 196. A packed audience at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas was shocked as the underdog Diaz who was brought in as a replacement for Rafael Dos Anjos with just eleven days notice forced McGregor into a submission in the second round.
McGregor had started off on the front foot. The first round was a fine display of boxing by both fighters with McGregor landing a number of blows on Diaz splitting the American’s right eyebrow open.However the second round was where it all went wrong for Conor. Diaz came into the fight. Despite such a short run in to the fight Diaz found his energy reserve and began to land shots on McGregor. A left hook and follow on right blow left McGregor dazed. The Irishman didn’t let that stop him as he began to get his bearings again he landed a few shots to Diaz’s bloody face. Diaz didn’t flinch and yet another heavy shot on McGregor was the turning point. McGregor could barely defend himself and seeing this Diaz took him to ground looking to utilize his wrestling skills. With McGregor pinned to the floor of the octagon Diaz began to ground and pound. As McGregor turned away for the towering American he presented Diaz with the opportunity he needed. Diaz wrapped his arms around McGregor and locked in perfect a choke hold. The Irishman had no choice but to tap out and concede defeat.
In his after match interview McGregor admitted he took a chance moving up two weight classes from 145lbs to 170lbs. The Irish fighter felt he was inefficient with his energy but stated he is humble in victory and in defeat. McGregor also praised his opponent for taking the fight on such short notice but maintained it was Diaz’s efficiency that saw him win the fight.
What went wrong?
The most obvious answer is moving up two weight divisions in one go. It was just too much for the Irishman. He’s reach was also a weakness against Diaz. The extra two inches Diaz had over McGregor was a key to his victory according to the Irishman. It appears McGregor expended too much energy in the first round leaving him open to attack in the second and unable to defend himself.No doubt McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh will help the Irish fighter recover from this loss and work toward a victory in his next fight.
What next for Conor McGregor?
McGregor will certainly take time to reflect on the situation he finds himself in. He is still the UFC featherweight champion but his dream of being a double weight class champion has suffered a serious blow. Three months ago the Irishman knocked out the then undefeated Jose Aldo to win the belt. Aldo took to social media soon after Diaz’s victory to call out McGregor for a title defence at UFC 200. Conor McGregor’s next fight is likely to be a defence of his featherweight title but that has not yet been confirmed by UFC.