“I know there’s a lot of people celebrating this [loss] in the featherweight division. There are many people celebrating another man’s victory. It’s something that I can’t understand. How someone not involved can celebrate another man’s victory… At the end of the day, I am the Featherweight Champion. I feel it is only right to go back down and remind them of what I achieved and what I have done in that division. But, I am not forgetting the 155 lb division. I am not forgetting about the 170 lb division. I think next is probably to go back down, and defend my featherweight crown… I still feel UFC 200 is there for me. I’m not cut, I’m simply heart broken. I’ll pick myself up and we’ll figure things out in the morning… 145 is a cut. It’s intense, but I make it and I make it every time. I think 145 will be next. I think after I defend my belt and climb myself back up, I will get my shot at that lightweight belt once again. Maybe me and Nate can do it again.”
-A humbled Conor McGregor reacts to his loss to Nate Diaz at UFC 196 and talks about what’s next at the post-fight press conference (transcribed by BloodyElbow.com).
Penick’s Analysis: McGregor handled things as well as anyone could have hoped, and though this absolutely takes his star down a peg, it’s far from the end of him as a top draw. He took a shot against a short notice opponent, and though it was the hand picked man he was supposed to beat, he still has a division over which he can reign. B.J. Penn went on to have two of his best career title defenses at lightweight after his loss to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 194. Diaz’s reach and height is something McGregor’s not going to face at featherweight, and it’s rare at lightweight as well. He may yet have a chance to try being a two-division champion, but he’s got work to do in his own field after this, and welterweight’s probably not going to be in his future.
[Photo (c) Mark J. Rebilas via USA Today Sports]
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