Like he did when the pair met back in March, Nate Diaz struggled desperately in the early going of his welterweight rematch with Conor McGregor at UFC 202 last month.
In the first bout it was McGregor’s aggression and potent, although slightly less accurate than usual, left-hand that caused Diaz problems.
In the second fight, the Irishman used a more measured approach and a new addition to his arsenal, Muay Thai style leg-kicks, to flummox and batter Diaz. Though it was utilised more sparingly and with greater consideration, that left-hand was, of course, still the star of the show and ‘The Notorious’ used it to drop his adversary on three separate occasions in the opening two rounds.
However, according to former UFC heavyweight and current podcast star Brendan Schaub, Diaz is claiming that his situation was nowhere near as dire as it appeared in those two stanzas. Rather, the 31-year-old says that his three visits to the canvas were merely premeditated, tactical tumbles.
Yes, apparently Diaz told Schaub that he was playing possum in an attempt to lure McGregor to the floor, where the Stockton native has a distinct advantage.
“I saw Nate at the grocery store, randomly, and he was saying that he was falling on purpose to dupe Conor,” Schaub said during Saturday night’s Fight Companion edition of The Joe Rogan Experience. “He goes ‘I knew the first three rounds were going to be tough – he is so fast – so when he hit me, the plan was to fall down and get him to follow me down. I couldn’t take him down, so the plan was to get him to follow me down there.’ That’s a very risky gameplan. But that’s from the horses mouth.”
Strangely, Joe Schilling, who has regularly trained with Nate in the past and was sitting right next to Schaub as he told this story, chose not to comment.
It’s extremely hard to take such claims seriously though. All three knockdowns came from powerful, accurate left-hand shots delivered by a puncher of some repute. Diaz didn’t necessarily look badly shaken in every instance but he didn’t look like a master tactician plying his cunning trade as he collapsed to the mat either.
Judge for yourselves…
Joe Rogan’s response to Diaz’s alleged comments probably represent the thoughts of the majority.
“Is that one of those ‘I meant to do that’ things?” the veteran UFC commentator asked. “That’s the Pee-wee Herman defence. [Adopting a Herman-esque voice] I meant to do that.”
You can watch the relevant segment of the podcast below…