“Honestly, to tell you the truth, I thought [McGregor] would win. He did his best because he had a lot of guys offer to fight him; Anthony Pettis, Donald Cerrone, guys in shape, guys in fight camps. So he picked Nate Diaz, who wasn’t training for sure. Like [Diaz] said, he didn’t spar once for this fight. And he submitted him. So [McGregor] picked the easiest one on his mind, that’s why I thought he was going to win. But Nate Diaz is a tough opponent. I’ve fought him. He’s a really hard guy to finish, has a lot of heart, but he’s different than Conor. Conor did not show a lot of heart. He’s a lion when he’s punching somebody, but when he’s getting punched, he becomes a cat. A little cat. When he’s punching somebody, he’s a lion. But when people punch him, he becomes a cat. A lot of people say, ‘ah, Conor went up two weight divisions.’ No. Nate Diaz, he’s a 155-pound fighter. He’s a lightweight. And [McGregor] is saying that, ‘I went up two weight divisions.’ No, he did not fight Robbie Lawler. He did not fight Johny Hendricks. He fought Nate Diaz, which is 155. … I just think Conor doesn’t deserve to fight for this, for the 155 belt. He just got smashed by the No. 5 ranked [fighter].”
-UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos reacts to Conor McGregor’s loss to Nate Diaz at UFC 196 in an interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour.
Penick’s Analysis: He’s got a point about the weight, but at the same time Diaz cutting to 155 lbs. is a slightly different fighter. That’s the thing with weight cuts, they’re a bit of an equalizer; Diaz had a size advantage more than what it could have been with them fighting at 155 lbs., but it’s also what he set himself up for. He chose that option, and in failing to beat that opponent he chose to go up against, it left him open to criticism in response. He’s taking that criticism well, but dos Anjos isn’t in the wrong in his take, either. I wouldn’t go so far as dos Anjos did in criticizing McGregor’s ability to take a punch; he took plenty before Diaz actually rocked him. Still, it was a fight where he was doing real well until he wasn’t, so it’s the perception some more will have on that bout.
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