We need this trilogy fight to happen…
During one of the greatest modern MMA rivalries, Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz had fans entranced. Coming in on less than two weeks notice, Diaz proved to be the first match for McGregor, and not only in the trash talking.
Instant classic confrontations took place, as both men dished out verbal lashings. When it came to the fight, UFC 196 played host to a crazy clash that ended wildly.
Diaz Was King
After a back-and-forth first round, Diaz came back to submit a rocked and exhausted McGregor. Suddenly the Irishman was temporarily derailed, and Nate became a superstar.
Obviously ‘The Notorious’ was chomping at the bit for a rematch. It wasn’t long before they were paired again, and this time McGregor came out on top. Although McGregor was keen for the rematch at UFC 202, his coach John Kavanagh says he really wasn’t.
In fact, JK said he was ‘terrified’ of Diaz after seeing what happened in the first fight:
Kavanagh Never Wanted Diaz Part 2
During a recent Q & A in Australia, as quoted by Balls.ie, SBG boss John Kavanagh talks in depth about the McGregor/Diaz rivalry:
“Nate, if he was a Marvel character, his special power is he just has a concrete head. I’ve seen Conor spar big strong heavyweights in the gym and put them on one knee. And with Nate he had all these clean connections in the first round and Nate just walked forward, walked forward.”
“We said to Conor afterwards, ‘what do you want to do next? They’ll still give you the lightweight title if you want’. And he was like ‘no, I want to fight Nate’. And in my head I’m thinking ‘why do you want to fight him again? He is terrifying’. When I was in the corner and you just see Nate plodding forward. And Conor has really nice technique on his hands and clearly has a very hard punch and Nate could just take them and be like ‘what bitch?’ So we knew going into the rematch it’s probably going to go 25 minutes.”
Alvarez Is Less Scary
Because he has very good jiu jitsu, you can’t knock him out … so that was one of the moments I just had to tip my hat to him (McGregor), what courage and bravery that took … I was there the following day and he was screaming on the phone to Dana (White) and Lorenzo (Fertitta) ‘you put that f***ing fight together’ and he was not letting go of it.
And I was thinking ‘dude, let’s f***ing fight Alvarez, have you seen him? He’s not that scary’. But he wanted that challenge and he pursued it and he made the changes. The training we did was sickening. All fighters like sparring and all fighters like rolling but making weight and getting that insane level of cardio — that’s the part that’s not as fun. And to be with him during those times and to see what he put himself through … and then to go and face someone that to me is like in a comic is his nemesis.