Conor McGregor was impressed by Nick Diaz despite the fact the MMA legend suffered defeat in his eagerly-anticipated rematch against Robbie Lawler at UFC 266.

The former Strikeforce champion returned to the Octagon for the first time in more than six years on Saturday night, seeking his first MMA win since 2011.

Diaz squared off against Lawler in a rematch 17 years in the making. In 2004, Diaz emerged scored a vicious KO win over ‘Ruthless’ at UFC 47.

At UFC 266, Lawler finally got his revenge. The fight was action-packed from the first to the last moment. Both men had their moments, but it was the former UFC champion, Lawler, who found the telling shot in round three. By that point, Diaz look spent and failed to rise to his feet when asked by Herb Dean to do so resulting in the fight being waved off.

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McGregor was full of praise for Diaz who clearly impressed the Irishman with his boxing skills and composure during a firefight.

“Nick/Rob was a good fight,” McGregor wrote on Twitter. “The spin kick at the start gave the ground on Nick but he was veteran composed and was peppering lovely shots in. He just ate some big body shots and there was more coming Robbie was strong to the body it was veteran work all round. I enjoyed thoroughly.”

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The former dual-weight UFC champion was even impressed with the way Diaz managed to avoid taking more damage during the final moments of his return fight.

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“The finishing sequence when the temple was clipped after the leg went, the evasion of the final shot, which was a blistering uppercut, was magic. Look at it. Down on one knee, observing where the shot was coming from, slip/parry, and re cente to open guard safe. Ala Daly fight.”

McGregor just couldn’t resist taking a shot at Nick’s brother and his long-time rival, Nate Diaz, who he believes is “piss” in comparison to his sibling.

“Nate your boxing is piss compare to nicks,” McGregor concluded. “We been fed garbage with your sloppy shots the last few years. Can see the clear difference between the two brothers after last night. Balance, composure. Another level the big bro is on to you. I made you.”

Do you agree with Conor McGregor? Is Nick Diaz a better fighter than Nate Diaz?

A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.