Combat sports analysts love themselves a good historical parallel, especially when something as massive as Conor McGregor’s upset loss to Nate Diaz goes down.
When somebody who has attained a superstar status off the back of a penchant for finishing fights in short order, they will inevitably be compared to Mike Tyson at some point in their career. If they end up suffering a shock defeat, then even better.
The cliched response in that instance is to bring up Tyson vs Buster Douglas, a comparison that was made with an astounding regularity after Ronda Rousey fell to Holly Holm at UFC 193 last November.
Thus, when Tyson’s name dropped out of Chael Sonnen’s mouth during his reaction to the UFC 196 main event on Sports Center(via MMAMania), one would have been forgiven for thinking ‘here we go’.
Sonnen, however, threw a little curve-ball, and instead compared McGregor/Diaz to Tyson’s bouts with Evander Holyfield. Still, his point was very much in line with the norm. He compared McGregor to Tyson, because the former “Baddest Man on the Planet” is considered the archetypal bully and like him, said Sonnen, “The Notorious” one folded when someone stood up to him.
“From a historical standpoint — mentally — Conor McGregor fell apart,” said the former middleweight and light-heavyweight title contender. “He cracked. It was just like watching Mike Tyson fold against Evander Holyfield and all the guys that have come before and after. Listen, when you stand up to a bully he will fade every time. Conor McGregor is a bully. Now, that’s the mental side”.
“Physically, Conor fought a great fight. He landed some fantastic combinations. The problem was Nate Diaz was too big. When Conor landed those shots, Nate didn’t go away. Eventually Conor began to fatigue and he began to take punches himself. Forget the rear-naked choke, forget the takedown. This was about fatigue, exhaustion and Conor McGregor, mentally, needed out”.
Sonnen’s sentiments were echoed in comments that UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos made last night on The MMA Hour.
It’s going to be a tough few weeks for Conor McGregor.