MMA welterweight veteran Nate Diaz knew how the fight with Conor McGregor would end the minute the Irish fighter punched him during the first round- the punches didn’t hurt much at all.
“In the first (round), he was quick and he had his things to say, and in my head, I was like, ‘It’s all right. It’s all right. Next round, I’m going to be there, too. When the next round started, it came quicker than I thought,” Diaz said during a recent interview on FOX Sports 1
During the first few rounds of the MMA fight, McGregor was able to do some damage to Diaz with his powerful strikes. If this had been sustained all throughout the fight, the next events may not have been too good for the welterweight veteran. McGregor even managed to throw a punch powerful enough to cut Diaz. It looked impossible to pin McGregor to the ground looked impossible as well.
But Diaz, who is actually the younger brother of welterweight MMA fighter Nick Diaz, didn’t lose hope.
During the second round, events started to line up in favor of Diaz. “I had him on the cage, and I was like, ‘You’re not the same now, are you?’ And then I put a knee on his stomach, and I heard him go, ‘Hooh.’ And I went, ‘Yeah.’ All of a sudden, he was shooting for a takedown, and I’m like, ‘Oh, you’re a wrestler now? Remember, I’m the black belt in jiu-jitsu. And you’re shooting on me now? This is a wrap.’,” Diaz shared.
It was indeed the end of the fight.
Diaz, who is holding a record of 19-10 MMA and 14-8 UFC, shook McGregor when he threw a powerful punch, then went to finish the fight with a rear-naked choke. McGregor lost the fight, throwing him off his goal of being the first UFC fighter to hold two MMA title belts simultaneously.
Dana White, the president of the UFC, confirmed that Diaz may now go against Robbie Lawler for the welterweight title, a shot that McGregor would have gotten if he won over Diaz during the PPV main card event held at Las Vegas, Nevada.
Diaz was informed about the replacement just days before the fight. Rafael dos Anjos was supposed to be the one fighting McGregor during UFC 196. Unfortunately, he had to be pulled out from the fight because of a foot injury. A lot of people were thinking that the UFC has obviously favored McGregor in this event by booking another fighter on such a short notice. When Diaz accepted the offer, fans say that he was the sacrificial lamb and that he was in no shape to fight someone like McGregor. On the contrary, Diaz revealed that he was actually training for a triathlon. Aside from this, McGregor’s contender had to work extra hard to get noticed by the UFC officials.
“I’ve got to put in a lot of work, and there ain’t no push, so I’m going to make it mine. I know I’m a better fighter than him,” he added