Former two-weight UFC champion, Conor McGregor has praised his rivalry with Stockton veteran, Nate Diaz which snapped a blockbuster 2016, describing the promotional alum as a “great fighter.

Twice sharing the Octagon with the former lightweight title challenger in 2016, McGregor suffered his first UFC loss against Diaz in a short-notice welterweight clash in March of that year, dropping a shocking second round submission loss.

Avening his rear-naked choke defeat to the Californian in August of that year at UFC 202, Conor McGregor landed a close, majority decision win over Diaz in a five round blood-and-guts war with the veteran. 

READ MORE:  Sean Strickland slams UFC champ-Champ Amanda Nunes, compares her to 'The thing in Street Fighter'

Yet to feature against each other in a trilogy rubber match in the time since, Diaz stressed following the confirmation of his boxing debut with Jake Paul this summer, that he would be interested in returning to the UFC in search of a third fight with McGregor.

Conor McGregor praises Nate Diaz ahead of August boxing debut

And echoing his own interest in a decider with The Utlimate Fighter 5 winner, McGregor praised both Nate and Nick Diaz – claiming there has always been “respect” for the former amid their heated rivalry.

READ MORE:  Conor McGregor unleashes 'titanium shin bone' on Ultimate Fighter contestant during sparring session

“Yeah, yeah, [the relationship] is competitive, but it’s always been respect,” Conor McGregor told Ariel Helwani during a recent interview. “It’s always been respect – how could you not respect the Diaz brothers, and there resume in the fight game? Real fighters – what’s his promotion? Real Fighters Inc. Fair play to him, you know, he’s a great fighter.” (Transcribed by

Expected to make his own return to active competition following a July 2021 leg fracture, McGregor has assured fans that he will most definitely share the Octagon with The Utlimate Fighter 31 foe, Michael Chandler before the end of December next.

READ MORE:  Amanda Nunes urged to embrace retirement ahead of UFC 289 headliner: 'Stop doing all this sh*t'

McGregor, 34, always revealed that his issue with anti-doping agency, USADA was “done” – with an official statement released from the agency confirming their expectancy of the Crumlin native’s “immediate” re-entry to their anti-doping testing pool.

Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.