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Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz: All the details behind the rivalry

10 months ago By Sports Desk

The rivalry between Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor is one of the most compelling and storied rivalries in MMA history. Having faced each other twice in their UFC careers, their contrasting fighting styles, polar opposite personalities, and reputations for intense octagon battles enthralled MMA fans worldwide. This article delves into their legendary rivalry, how it began, their fights, and their legacy. 

The Rivalry

The Nate Diaz vs. Conor Mcgregor rivalry surprisingly began with Rafael Dos Anjos’s broken foot and some unintentionally excellent matchmaking on the UFC’s part. The rivalry began when Diaz was roped in to replace Dos Anjos on short notice to face McGregor at UFC 196 in March 2016. The Brazilian was forced to pull out due to a foot injury. 

The fight took place at welterweight, which meant that reigning featherweight champion Conor McGregor had to move up two weight classes to fight Nate Diaz. Considering their contrasting fighting styles and personalities, the fight was an intriguing challenge for both men. 

The First Encounter

Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor went head-to-head for the first time at UFC 196 in March 2016. The Irishman was a hot favorite going into fight night and was highly expected to extend his unbeaten streak in the UFC. 

The fight began with McGregor peppering Diaz with hard and accurate shots, looking to find that sweet spot on the Stockton native’s chin. However, Diaz weathered the storm and showcased his legendary durability despite being dropped a few times. 

In the second round, Diaz applied relentless pressure on McGregor and used his superior boxing skills to hurt the Irishman. Eventually, Diaz hit a gassed-out McGregor with a hard left that stunned him. The dazed McGregor then attempted a sloppy takedown, resulting in Diaz securing a rear-naked choke submission victory. The defeat marked McGregor’s first loss in the UFC and Diaz’s biggest win ever. 

The Second Encounter

The first fight between Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor laid the foundations for their rivalry to escalate. Given the massive upset that Diaz caused the first time around, fans were eager for an instant rematch, and that’s exactly what the UFC arranged. 

At UFC 202 in August 2016, the two rivals fought for the second time. The buildup to the fight was marked by bitter verbal sparring and personal insults, which escalated the tension between them. 

The fight was an epic five-round back-and-forth war, with McGregor throwing leg-kicks early on. While Diaz remained steadfast and kept piling on the pressure, McGregor displayed clear improvements in his game and utilized effective counter-punching and head movement. The fight ultimately ended with a close unanimous decision victory for Conor McGregor. 

Aftermath and Legacy

The rivalry between Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor is among the UFC’s most memorable ones. Beyond the octagon, Diaz and McGregor continued to fire shots at each other for an extended time, generating a buzz that heightened the anticipation for a trilogy fight. 

Facing Conor McGregor twice also undoubtedly helped take Diaz’s career to new heights, raise his profile, and make him a truly global superstar. Meanwhile, it allowed McGregor to introspect and make necessary improvements to his game. 

Conclusion

The Nate Diaz-Conor McGregor saga undoubtedly showcased the essence of competition, the drive for redemption, and the ability of two fighters to bring out the best in each other. Diaz and McGregor remain two of the biggest superstars in MMA and continue to hold a special place in the hearts of all combat sports fans. 

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