Chael Sonnen, who now rivals Conor McGregor as the UFC’s biggest trash talker, believes that McGregor may have not been able to sustain his mental game during the UFC 196 matchup with Nate Diaz.
According to the Independent, Sonnen said he believed that Conor McGregor fell apart in much the same way as Mike Tyson did when he took on Evander Holyfield and infamously chewed his ear.
“From a historical standpoint, mentally, Conor McGregor fell apart,” Sonnen said on ESPN, according to Independent. “He cracked. It was just like watching Mike Tyson fold against Evander Holyfield and all the guys that have come before and after. Listen, when you stand up to a bully he will fade every time. Conor McGregor is a bully. Now, that’s the mental side.”
— Irish Sun Sport (@IrishSunSport) March 8, 2016
Conor McGregor, unbelievably, escaped medical suspension following his matchup with Diaz. According to Joe.co.uk, the big Irishman known as “The Notorious” did not have to worry about being medically suspended in spite of losing his title. Diaz, on the other hand, has been suspended until April 20, with no contact until April 5, due to the laceration he received over his right eye.
While Conor McGregor’s lack of medical suspension has fans hopeful that he will be able to compete at UFC 200, it’s McGregor’s loss to Nate Diaz — and how he took that loss — that has fans talking.
In addition, Chael Sonnen’s comments about how Conor McGregor took a mental break and how that mental break rivalled that of Mike Tyson’s have some fans agreeing, while other pundits are writing that McGregor needed to lose his match up. According to Kotaku writer Nathan Grayson, Conor McGregor needed to lose in order to bring himself back down to Earth.
“Walking such a high-risk, high-reward path, McGregor was bound to lose eventually,” Grayson said. “It seems like he knew it, too.”
Grayson referenced Conor McGregor’s Instagram posts as evidence that McGregor seemed to somehow realize that he was perhaps destined to not come out on top in this match against Diaz. Part of the problem was that McGregor seemed determined to fight at two weight classes up with only two weeks’ notice, and while it is likely something that is quite doable, it does take time to get used to carrying extra weight, even if it is mostly muscle.
Conor McGregor’s Instagram post following the Diaz loss read, in part, “I’ve been here many times in my life in some form or another. I’ll eat it all and come back stronger. Aldo you are a p***y. Dos anjos you are a p***y. When the history books are written, I showed up. You showed up on Twitter. To the fans! Never ever shy away from challenges. Never run from adversity. Face yourself head on. Nate I will see you again.”
It’s this sort of bold talk that has gained Conor McGregor a legion of fans. The tough-talking Irishman is rumored to be heading to defend the featherweight title next, according to MMA Fighting. McGregor said that it seemed right that Jose Aldo, who held the featherweight title for years prior to McGregor snagging the belt, get a crack at winning the belt back, but admitted that perhaps top contender Frankie Edgar would get an opportunity for a match as well. He said regardless of who gets the title shot, he will listen to what the fans want for him.
“I’ll keep my ear to the ground and see who the fans want,” Conor McGregor said. “Whatever the fans want is the fight that makes sense.”
[Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]