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Conor McGregor Speaks On Nate Diaz Rematch, UFC 196 Loss And ‘Retirement’

Speaking at Win or Learn – An Evening with John Kavanagh, Conor McGregor addressed what have been a whirlwind few months.


A chance to emulate two legends of the sport in BJ Penn and Randy Couture awaited Conor McGregor last March. Having clocked pound-for-pound king Jose Aldo in 13 seconds at UFC 194, a lightweight title fight with Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 196 was slated for the Irishman.

As only the third man in history to hold two UFC world championships, Conor McGregor would have been well on his way to immortality.

However, Dos Anjos withdrew due to injury, and ‘The Notorious’ elected to face Nate Diaz on just ten days notice at welterweight (15 pounds heavier than originally scheduled). The rest is history.

Diaz lands the left-hand that seemed to change the trajectory of the fight.
Diaz lands the left-hand that seemed to change the trajectory of the fight.

That history weighs heavy on the mind of McGregor, and as he told his home crowd during an event in Dublin, complacency and ill-preparation led to his downfall.

Quotes come via Paul Dollery of, who is the co-author of ‘Win or Learn’ – John Kavanagh’s autobiography, which goes on sale June 30th.

“The last fight, mid-round, I wasn’t listening, I wasn’t paying attention. That was one of the errors I made,” McGregor admitted.

An impressive first round for McGregor saw him carry that form into the second, before Diaz found his range as his opponent tired before the eyes of the world.

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 5: Conor McGregor (R) punches Nate Diaz during UFC 196 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on March 5, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

Having months rather than days to adjust to the unfamiliar 170lb. weight class gives Conor belief that he’ll give a better account of himself on August 20, when he takes on Diaz in a much anticipated rematch at UFC 202.

“I was a little bit heavy around the mid-section, I was over-trained and it came back and bit me in the ass.”

“I’m working my nuts off for this rematch. Believe me on that. I’m feeling very confident that I’ll go in and toy with this man. He was one or two shots from being done.”

It’s been quite an experience for Conor McGregor, turbulent 2016-aside. His favourite moment?

McGregor Mendes

Not even the Aldo knockout could compare to his emotional vindication bout against Chad Mendes in July of 2015, or indeed the raucous scenes of UFC Dublin the July previous.

The most controversial aspect of his eventful 2016 though came in the form of McGregor’s ‘retirement’.

While he claims here that it wasn’t genuine, it’s release and the reasons surrounding it shocked the world and saw the UFC pull him from their biggest ever event of UFC 200 respectively.

One gets the feeling that SBG’s Kavanagh will have enough material to fill another tome by the time his most famous charge departs from the game.

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Author: Chris Kelleher

Student whose interests lie in sports ranging from Darts to MMA, with the likes of Golf, Boxing and Soccer in between. Closet wrestling fan and a lover of sports psychology and stiff jabs.