UFC 202 was filled with instant classics with knockouts and a full on war between rivals Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz.
Conor McGregor, who is known for trash talking and walking down his opponents, was quiet and focused throughout his bout with Nate Diaz.
The Notorious looked to exploit Diaz’s weakness by kicking his lead leg, and he was having a lot of success in the first two rounds.
Conor revealed in a post-fight interview that he has never really thrown leg kicks during his career. He also has a shin injury from Nate Diaz checking some of those kicks. It was first reported that Conor may have broken his foot when he was seen backstage in limping; however, this report turned out to be false.
Conor was impressed that Nate Diaz stayed in the fight after several knockdowns and blood seeping into his eyes:
“His face was opened up and he was still just coming,” McGregor said during his post-fight interview. “You have got to respect that – you have got to respect Nate and the style of fighting that he brings, how can you not.”
Conor McGregor has not confirmed that he will return to featherweight after UFC 202. Dana White has stated that he will like to see McGregor return to the division to defend his belt against Jose Aldo; however, it seems like the President and his most valuable fighter are going to butt heads on this one.
Conor McGregor is leaving all his options on the table as he heads into negotiations with his new boss.
He has the option of a Mayweather fight, a title shot at lightweight against current champion Eddie Alvarez or completing the trilogy with Nate Diaz.
Nate Diaz, who is a veteran of the sport, is not interested in any fights other than settling the score with McGregor.
Diaz felt that he won the fight and criticized McGregor for “running” in the later rounds. The crowd reacted with boos when Conor was moving away from Diaz. Nate also states that he thought Conor should get a point deducted for running.
Diaz also said that he had injuries before the fight; however, he is not the type of fighter that pulls out of bouts. According to Sherdog, Nate said the following.
“I was injured coming into this fight. I’ve got the whole thing on tape: I hurt my knee about a month ago. I wasn’t able to train jiu-jitsu for the last month,” Diaz said. “And then about two weeks after I was sparring boxing and I really hurt my rib. I got hit in the body, by my partner, a really good boxer. That put me out of sparring about two and a half weeks ago. I got it all on tape, just to set if off and not to make excuses.”
Like McGregor, Nate Diaz produced his own content Road to War, leading up to the fight. This may explain why he managed to capture his injury on tape during one of his sparring sessions.
McGregor said after his win that he would like the next fight to be at the 155-pound division. Nate fights at lightweight and has stated in the past that he feels faster and prefers to fight in that division.
Therefore, the trilogy fight may also be for the belt if Conor’s next move is to challenge the champion.
Conor has mentioned that the featherweight division will go back to the prelims if he is to vacate his belt.
He has also said that Aldo doesn’t motivate him to go back down due to his performance against Frankie Edgar and his tendency to pull out of fights.,
UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden is yet to announce its main card fights. Every fighter wants to be on the historic card, and Conor McGregor could headline the event or we could see the return of Ronda Rousey sooner than expected.
[Photo by Steve Marcus;/Getty Images]