#UFC202: Diaz ‘a hell of a competitor’, says Conor McGregor

‘It was a hell of a fight’ - McGregor discusses next move following hard-fought victory

Conor McGregor has praised his opponoent Nate Diaz after defeating the Californian in their rematch at UFC 202 in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

The Dubliner won a thrilling decision victory over Diaz after five gruelling rounds at the at the T-Mobile Arena.

“It was a hell of a fight,” said McGregor at the post-fight press conference.

“He keeps on walking forward, he took every shot, I dropped him multiple times. . . He just keeps coming. His face was bust open and he’s still coming forward,” he said, before calling Diaz, who won the pair’s first bout at UFC196 in March, a “hell of a competitor”.


McGregor arrived to the press conference on crutches, explaining that he injured his shin through the multiple leg kicks he landed on Diaz.

“My leg is in bits after (the leg kicks). I don’t really throw leg kicks, in my whole career I’ve thrown about three,” he said.

“I just kept kicking. I’m sure it set up some of the shots I landed - I didn’t just head hunt.”

McGregor’s immediate reaction to the victory was to target a third meeting with 31-year-old Diaz.

“All I know is that it’s 1-1,” McGregor told BT Sport. “Let’s regroup and do it again.

“This time I want to do it at 155 pounds, I came in at 170 with him as the bigger man and I overcame that adversity.”

At the press conference, he said: “Look, I’m going to go back down weight. I’m the 145 pound champion, the 155pound is there. When I fight Nate again, it will be 155 pounds - it will be on my terms this time.”

Following the fight, Jose Aldo, who was defeated by McGregor in 13 seconds in December last year in a featherweight bout, tweeted: "Where you at @TheNotoriousMMA? Come back down and I'll see you at UFC205 or drop the belt! #hitandrun."

A reporter asked McGregor how he felt about facing Aldo next at 145 pounds.

“I mean, how long was I going back and forth with Jose? That must have been a two year build up, he pulled out last minute,” said McGregor.

Speaking about the possibility the UFC may make him vacate the featherweight title if he refused to defend it in his next bout, McGregor said he didn’t think that was likely.

“I don’t think they’re going to do that, I mean how can they do that? What would that do to the division, if the guy I KO’d in 13 seconds is the unified champion?”

Also speaking atthe press conference, Diaz welcomed the possibility of another rematch with McGregor, this time at 155 pounds.

“If they want to set it up as soon as possible then let’s do it, but I don’t hink it’s a good business move for (McGregor) to be taking any other fight.

“He’s a business man, so let’s see what happens.”

Additional reporting: PA

Dean Ruxton

Dean Ruxton

Dean Ruxton is an Audience Editor at The Irish Times. He also writes the Lost Leads archive series