McGregor Takes Down Diaz in Rematch

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28-year old Conor McGregor smiles as he defeats Nate Diaz by unanimous decision in UFC 202 in their second fight.

Jake Rosenstein

Mixed martial arts (MMA) may not be traditionally known as a big sport in the United States, but it’s feverishly making its way into the mainstream. In this up and coming sport, there are not many household names – the greatest exception being Conor McGregor. The welterweight Irishman burst onto the scene in the last few years, becoming known for his swagger, skill, toughness and fierce competitiveness. Nate Diaz, another one of the MMA elite members, is one of the top ranked fighters in the sport now, but prior to UFC 196, he did not have the notoriety that Conor “Notorious” McGregor did. 

Earlier this year in March at UFC 196, Diaz filled in for Rafael Dos Anjos with just two weeks notice to prepare for his first bout with McGregor. Underdog Diaz shocked the world when he forced McGregor into submission during the second round, making Diaz the UFC welterweight champion. McGregor, who until then had been largely dominant, had his ego checked when Diaz forced him into a rear naked chokehold. The raw anger and heartbreak of McGregor led to a lot of popularity for both himself and the sport of mixed martial arts. 

The rematch took place on August 20, 2016 and was one of the most highly anticipated UFC fight nights in history. Perhaps one of the most surprising things to come from UFC 202 was the weigh in scuffle that occurred between Diaz and McGregor. While it was obvious that the two do not like each other, the fight that broke out during the pre-match conference was quite unusual. Several shouting matches occurred between the two, forcing them to be physically separated by UFC’s security. Diaz hurled a water bottle at McGregor, who fired back with some projectiles of his own. This bout proved how tense things were between the Irish competitor and the underdog who took him down earlier this year. Dana White, President of UFC, ended the press conference early, saying, “Sorry guys, see you Saturday.” Fans knew that tensions were high and tempers were flaring but no one expected this outcome.

The pair took center stage at UFC 202 and people were excited to see what would come next. There is not much that can be said about the fight without actually watching the footage and making the judgment yourself, but one key thing was Diaz’s toughness. McGregor was landing punch after punch, but Diaz refused to show any weakness. By round two, Diaz’s face was beaten and bloodied, but he showed no signs of quitting. By rounds four and five, both competitors had bloody faces and were exhausted. No knockouts or submissions occurred by the end of round five. McGregor won by the majority decision of the judges. It is unknown at this time whether or not the fans will see McGregor v. Diaz 3, but with the record tied at 1-1, it is a pretty safe bet that it will happen. The fans can only wait and hope.