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UFC Heated Rivalries: Conor McGregor VS Nate Diaz

Having become one of the biggest names in the modern UFC over the past few years, Conor McGregor has lived up to his nickname – Notorious. With an attitude like his, it’s no surprise that he was also part of some of the most heated rivalries in recent UFC, namely with Khabib Nurmagomedov and Nate Diaz.

Today we’re looking at his fights with Diaz and the other spats they have had, too. With both McGregor and Diaz still upright and in the UFC, you can join the action next time one of them takes to the Octagon. If you do, just make sure you check out some UFC betting odds first.

The First Fight

Let’s go back to 2016, where McGregor’s beef with Diaz first started. McGregor is riding high after putting Jose Aldo down in just 13 seconds, winning the featherweight championship title and continuing an undefeated winning streak in the UFC.

So, after making the fastest title bout knockout in UFC history, McGregor wasn’t ready for Nate Diaz to knock him off his game. Conferences were as you’d expect, with insults getting traded, though the pre-fight conference saw McGregor strike Diaz in the hand.

Then the fight started in February of 2016, where Diaz quickly landed the Diaz-signature Stockton Slap on McGregor. After a shaky start, it became apparent that Diaz was surviving the Irish fist-fighter’s body barrages. Diaz quickly grappled McGregor on the mat and locked in a rear-naked choke, causing McGregor to tap late in the second round.

While it was Fight of the Night, it was a huge upset to McGregor and his fans. McGregor knew where he went wrong, however, commenting that Diaz was playing the energy game and he had been inefficient, which Diaz could capitalize on in that second round.

The Rematch

With the upset of McGregor fans echoing across the UFC, the next rematch needed to come fast. After that first fight at UFC 196, the next fight was scheduled for July of the same year but fell through because McGregor didn’t follow up on some of his media appearances. It was pushed back a month, to UFC 202 in August.

This time, McGregor would have his revenge by defeating Diaz by unanimous decision. It was a very close fight, however, with McGregor winning by just two points – 48-47, 47-47, and 48-47.

This fight also sold the most PPV tickets in the UFC’s history (at the time) at 1.65 million. Before 202 happened, that honor was reserved for UFC 100 in 2009, where Brock Lesnar, Frank Mir, Georges St-Pierre, Dan Henderson, Michael Bisping, Stephen Bonnar, and Jon Jones all took to the Octagon in one explosive night.

Of course, that 202 viewership record would get beaten again in 229, where 2.4 million people tuned in to watch McGregor face off against Nurmagomedov.

The Trilogy?

Ever since 2016, there have always been rumors surrounding a possible third McGregor and Diaz fight to decide who is the best fighter after all. However, both men pursued their own career paths within the UFC. As we know, McGregor got distracted with the Khabib rivalry, and then dramatically broke his leg on live TV against Dustin Poirier’s shin. Diaz, meanwhile, took several years of hiatus away from the cage.

With both fighters not getting any older, some have doubted if the trilogy fight will ever happen. McGregor’s trainer, John Kavanagh, thinks it’s a great idea. So does Dana White, though he then said he’d be shocked if any plans did come to fruition.

However, in February and March of 2022, the conversation has been revived by none other than Diaz himself. After avoiding discussion of the third bout, he told McGregor he’d need to “get him some wins and prove he’s not so fragile first.”

If McGregor does come back in good form, we may see Nate Diaz V Conor McGregor 3 sometime in the future. If that does happen, it’ll probably need to be at 170 pounds. That’s how much Diaz weighs nowadays, which McGregor would need to match before they meet again. 

Having weighed 156 pounds for his Poirier fight, McGregor has since stacked “190 pounds of granite” which makes the rematch even less likely.

Conclusion

That’s our brief rundown of the heated rivalry between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz. Their two current bouts are some of the most memorable fights in modern UFC. While a third fight remains uncertain, we do know that it’d be one of the greatest fights of their careers.

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