Conor McGregor feeling confident he’ll avenge loss to Nate Diaz in rematch at UFC 202: “I’ll toy with this man”

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz (photo credit J. Rebilas © USA Today Sports)

Conor McGregor continues to believe only one narrative regarding his loss to Nate Diaz at UFC 196, and he reiterated again this week the belief that their UFC 202 rematch will play out very differently.

“I’m feeling very confident in myself that I’ll go in and I’ll toy with this man,” McGregor said at an event to promote the new book “Win or Learn” by his coach John Kavanagh (transcribed by “Eight minutes of the fight, I was toying with him. That fadeaway left hand that he caught me with, my senses were still there. It was almost like a fatigue thing that my balance was gone.

“I always look back and question and say, what would have happened if I would have just weathered the storm? He was one or two shots being done, I feel. I feel when that left hand hit, he got this burst of energy. You can see it in his corner, they went insane. It was like they won the lotto. Then I took a couple shots and I shot [for a takedown] and I ended up in that guillotine and then it was just downhill from there. I wonder what would have happened if I just kept my hands up, I kept circling, took the smacks and survived. Eventually his energy that he gained from that left-hand shot would have dipped again and then round three would have began. There’s a lot of questions and stuff I’m confident I can improve next time. I’m going in here confident that I will get this rematch back.”

In addition to what he felt happened in the fight itself, McGregor contributes many of his mistakes to what he did to prepare in the final 11 days after Diaz stepped in for the injured Rafael dos Anjos.

“My body almost went into shock and I was stuffing my face and eating everything,” McGregor said. “I was almost like, I don’t have to make weight, I can train all day long. So we were doing 6-to-8-hour sessions on fight week, swinging on gymnastic rings. Looking back, it wasn’t the best idea and it came back and bit me in the ass. … I was a little bit heavy in the midsection, I was overtrained, my diet wasn’t great and it came back and bit me in the ass. But as Coach always says, we win or we learn, and I have learned and I am focused. I’m staying on my nutrition. I’m very fight-orientated. I’m not swinging on gymnastic rings too much and I certainly won’t be doing it on fight week.”

Penick’s Analysis: There’s a part of me that buys into the idea of I’ll preparation, taking Diaz too lightly, and suffering the consequences. At the same time, it’s a little overly dismissive on what Diaz did to him, and may be delusional thinking that only leads to further ruin in the rematch. Of course, if he has to think this way to get his mind set on performing his best in the rematch, perhaps that’s how it will play out, but there’s every chance there’s an identical outcome on August 20. Still, McGregor’s a man who has put his beliefs in action in the last, so if he can make the adjustments necessary, he could win that fight.

[Photo (c) Mark J. Rebilas via USA Today Sports]

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