Despite everything that he has done since, some still see the moment that Conor McGregor tapped to Nate Diaz’s rear-naked choke at UFC 196 as the one that defines his character.
One of those people, it would seem, is UFC featherweight Jason Knight.
“Don’t get me wrong, Conor McGregor is good,” Knight said during a recent interview with MMAJunkie. “He’s got awesome, amazing stand-up, but you know what it’s going to take to beat Conor McGregor? It’s going to take someone with a chin who is not scared to fight that man. You got a chin and you’re not scared to fight him – you are going to whoop his ass. He has no heart, we seen that in the Diaz fight – first time he gets a hand around his neck, he tapped in four seconds.”
“You get him down and you put him in a bad position – you are going to see that man fold. I am a firm believer in that.”
McGregor rebounded from that defeat, of course, beating the iron-chinned and fearless Diaz via majority decision in a rousing five-round battle at UFC 202. Though ‘The Notorious’ showed in the sequel that he had learned from the mistakes he made in the first bout, adapting his gameplan to account for the Stockton slugger’s inhuman punch-resistance, Knight obviously wasn’t convinced by the display.
He feels that a Diaz-esque fighter will once again prove McGregor’s undoing in the future.
At present, there are many names involved in the ‘Who is next for McGregor?’ conversation, but the man that Knight is most interested in seeing the Dubliner battle is Tony Ferguson.
“You put that man in there with Tony Ferguson, I pray that you put him in there with Tony Ferguson, because Tony Ferguson is going to treat him like a punk,” said the 24-year-old American. “Anybody in the world can disagree with me, I don’t care. Make that fight happen and see what happens.”
Ferguson certainly fits Knight’s description of a McGregor bogeyman, he has a granite jaw and is much more accustom to striking fear than feeling it. He also has height and reach advantages over the SBG fighter, as well as an excellent ground game.
But Ferguson isn’t the only one that Knight feels can beat McGregor.
“I honestly think that if the Jose [Aldo] fight happened again, Jose can beat him,” said Knight. “Jose Aldo let the man get inside his head and got him all riled up before the fight. [Aldo] ran in there, did some stupid stuff and got caught.”
Just three months after the win over Diaz, McGregor claimed the UFC lightweight title by destroying Eddie Alvarez inside two rounds at UFC 205 in New York. While Knight acknowledged that McGregor “tooled” Alvarez, he suggested that the Irishman’s mental warfare played a role in the outcome of that fight too.
According to Knight, McGregor’s psychological dominance won’t continue for long though and neither will his spell at MMA’s summit.
“These people that Conor is beating up, Conor is getting inside their heads,” said ‘The Kid’. “He is getting them scared before the fight. Even if they are not getting scared, he is getting them in their emotions. They are getting mad, they are getting scared.”
“Take him down one time and keep him down – the fight is over. That’s all it’s going to take. He has no ground game and what ground game he does have, it’s limited. And about that much [pinches his fingers close together] heart, that’s all he’s got. A man who is going to tap in about three and half seconds to a choke, didn’t even try to pull the arm down, didn’t even try to fight the choke – that’s not a true champion to me.”
“He’s got two belts [not anymore], congratulations, good job – you made history. But it’s not going to last for you, I can promise you that. All it takes is someone who is not scared of you, somebody who is got a chin, somebody who has got a little bit of heart and they’re going to take you out.”
UFC featherweight Jason "The Kid" Knight says Conor McGregor has no heart and wouldn't stand a chance against a fighter like Tony Ferguson pic.twitter.com/dVw7GBhdYq
— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) November 30, 2016
Knight, who has gained many fans with his aggressive all-action style and badass attitude, made his UFC debut in December of last year, losing a decision to Japanese veteran Tatsuya Kawajiri. He has since won two fights in a row, however, most recently topping Dan Hooker at UFC Fight Night 101 in Melbourne, Australia.
Complete our survey below to be in with a chance of winning a Pundit Arena jersey!