The emotional state of Conor McGregor was the major talking point in the days before UFC 202, having seemingly succumbed to Nate Diaz in the mind game department.
Up until crossing paths with Nate Diaz, ‘The Notorious’ one banished each of his opponents to the torment of hatred. Chad Mendes, along with Jose Aldo and Dustin Poirier in particular, were fit to kill the Irishman in the run up to their respective bouts.
Both men went headhunting, and it took Conor McGregor just two minutes to dispatch of them.
In contrast, Nate Diaz’s composed disposition created a jarring atmosphere in his back and forths with the UFC featherweight champion. McGregor arrived late to last Wednesday’s press conference, with Diaz wresting away the limelight by subsequently walking out before the infamous water bottle incident.
Conor’s rage at the abrupt end to the presser was clear to see.
Many saw fight week as the turning of the tables in the battle for the mental edge. Judging by Conor McGregor’s tirades at his unflustered foe, those observers appeared to be correct.
His demeanour at Friday night’s weigh-ins had some worried that the Dubliner would abandon his gameplan and go in for the kill, as promised.
“He should’ve killed me when he had his chance. Because now I’m back and I’m going to kill you and your whole f—king team! You and your bitch tits!”
Conor’s coach, John Kavanagh, told Ariel Helwani of the MMA Hour though that it was all a ruse. When asked by Helwani if McGregor’s mindset had worried him, Kavanagh admitted that he had a speech prepared about discipline, but ended up not needing it.
“After the weigh-ins, we were backstage on our own,” said Kavanagh.
“He just looked at me dead in the eye, cold, and said: ‘The illusion of insanity is over, now it’s time for the gameplan.’ So he stood up there and did the screaming and posturing, and then came back like a serial killer just looked at me and said that.”
“I texted my girlfriend that line and said: ‘It’s over, the fight’s done.'”
In the fight itself, McGregor indeed reverted to a more measured gameplan than expected – leading to a majority decision win.
The reveal can be seen below via MMAFightingonSBN on YouTube.