Relentless McGregor preparing to avenge Diaz defeat at UFC 202
Lee Gormley | July 16, 2016
Can McGregor avenge Diaz defeat?
Before taking on Nate Diaz at UFC 196, Conor McGregor had initially been scheduled to meet then lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos, as he aimed to become the first UFC fighter to hold two titles simultaneously.
Although, the Brazilian was forced to withdraw and has since been dethroned by Eddie Alvarez, while McGregor (19-3) currently prepares for his anticipated welterweight rematch with maiden UFC conqueror Diaz (20-10).
The Irishman’s maiden defeat in the organisation at the hands of Stockton’s Diaz back in March sent shockwaves through the sport, with ‘the Notorious’ having entered as the huge favourite to tame his stand-in challenger.
Proceedings didn’t go to plan for McGregor as he was the victim of a Diaz submission victory in Las Vegas, but the relentless Dubliner has since been training for the rematch at UFC 202 on August 20th, when he will seek to avenge that earlier setback.
McGregor steps up training ahead of second clash
Diaz stepped up to face McGregor with just 11 days notice for their original match-up, with the latter Irishman having then been preparing to go toe-to-toe with Dos Anjos but, with an entire training camp focused on his upcoming foe he is confident of gaining revenge.
‘The Notorious’ is 11/8 with Coral to knock out Diaz in their rematch, and recently stated: “I’ll come in correct, sharp and take this man out. I’ve simply prepared more specific. I usually don’t prepare for a specific opponent.
“Everyone I face pulls out. Last minute pull outs are a staple in my career. [Last time] I didn’t even fight a southpaw. This time I’m preparing for a tall, lanky, ugly Mexican southpaw.
“I’m going to go in and do what I always do – go in, press forward. I’m a lot more prepared for the size, weight, distance. I underestimated his durability, I will not make the same mistake again.”
McGregor getting ready for business
McGregor was questioned about the decision to once again face Diaz at 170lbs, rather than his usual weight of 145lbs, during the recent first press conference ahead of the pair’s awaited second scuffle.
“What kind of fighter would I be if I lost a contest and then said, well I’ll cut a load of weight and get you next time,” he declared. “It makes a lot of sense to do it at 170, to right the wrong.”
The deadly Dubliner, evidently fixated on avenging that loss at the same weight, will enter the octagon again on August 20th at 7/1 to outpoint Diaz over the five-round distance, an approach which he may need to take in order to taste success this time around.
McGregor is the reigning UFC featherweight title-holder and will eventually return to the division for a likely rematch with Brazilian Jose Aldo, who he is odds-on 4/7 to topple once more, but he also admitted there could be a third Diaz dust-up.
“I’m going to beat him. I think we could see a trilogy. It was a great fight last time, I really enjoyed it,” continued McGregor.
‘The Notorious’ training like ‘military’
Highly driven McGregor has never lacked work ethic, but according to his long-serving coach and mentor John Kavanagh, the UFC featherweight champion has also never trained quite like he has for the upcoming Diaz rematch.
Having been previously been described as an athlete that “floated” through training, Kavanagh claims McGregor is now in a much more routined set-up and the Irishman is benefiting thoroughly from such a camp.
“If I was to sum it up, there’s order to this training camp,” outlined Kavanagh. “There’s no chaos. Everything is very disciplined, very military style. Beforehand, it was kind of done on Conor’s whim, how he felt on a certain day.
“This training camp has been based on cycles. Every day, we start at 1pm sharp. In the evenings, we do cardio training. Everything is measured, nothing is left to ‘How you feeling?’
“We have a performance doctor taking care of the performance side of things, I’m taking care of the fighting side of things, everybody is working together and nothing we’ve done before comes close to comparison for this one.”
Loss will make McGregor better say Kavanagh
Kavanagh, head coach of Straight Blast Gym Ireland in McGregor’s native Dublin, admitted he prefers proceedings to go this current way, but never pushed his star man to opt for a different approach in the past.
There was really no need, with ‘the Notorious’ having began life in the UFC by racking up seven straight victories, with six coming by knockout, and his confident coach believes the initial Diaz defeat will have a positive effect on the rest of McGregor’s career.
“I truly believe that loss will, in time, be seen as the most positive thing that happened in Conor’s career,” Kavanagh said. “Because I want people to see what he does with a loss. I know the measure of him. I know how he bounces back.
“If he spends his whole career on this air of invincibility – putting everybody away inside one round – I don’t think people would have truly gotten to see his character.
“This fight actually feels bigger to me than the [Jose Aldo bout in December], if I’m being honest. I really feel this will sum up a lot of what the gym stands for and of course, Conor’s legacy as well.”
Diaz’s odds have been cut by some distance for the rematch after his second-round success via a clinical rear-naked choke, and the 31-year-old Californian is now 5/2 to once again prevail by submission.
Although, at the T-Mobile Arena on August 20th, a relentless and extremely focused McGregor will aim to avoid such a scenario, as he hunts down UFC redemption in the most testing octagon outing of his already distinguished career.