The fallout of July 9’s UFC 200 seems to be just now settling, and the UFC already has another pay-per-view (PPV) card coming up this weekend with July 30’s UFC 201 from Atlanta, but much of the larger focus of the MMA world is not surprisingly fixated on the anticipated welterweight rematch between Nate Diaz and featherweight champion Conor McGregor.
The bout, which was now-infamously originally scheduled for the main event of UFC 200 before the promotion pulled ‘The Notorious’ out of the spot when he refused to attend press obligations while training in Iceland, is a seeming grudge match spawning from McGregor’s intense desire to avenge his second-round submission loss to enigmatic late replacement Diaz at UFC 196 in March.
That’s keeping arguably the biggest star in the UFC fighting up two weight classes, something that appeared to be his undoing in his first fight with Diaz, where he gassed badly after winging a high volume of heavy power shots at the larger iron-chinned fighter.
Many may expect the same in the rematch, but McGregor’s longtime head coach John Kavanagh said the exact opposite would be true in a recent Q&A on Periscope, acknowledging that his star fighter simply threw “too many power shots” and “got tired.””
McGregor is well known for winning fights in emphatic fashion by doing just that against every opponent he’d faced in the UFC at 145 pounds, yet when it didn’t, he was left with nothing in the tank after getting wobbled by a big straight left hand before succumbing to a brutal choke. Kavanagh, who noted McGregor was taking this bout “a hundred times” more serious, believes the Irish standout will take Diaz to deep waters and finish him in “four” this time around.
It’s yet another bold prediction from the McGregor camp, who were on record as saying they were going to challenge surging welterweight champion Robbie Lawler after they ran through Diaz when lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos was forced out of his title fight with ‘Notorious.’
But that talk has cooled significantly after Diaz was able to further expose his perhaps suspect ground game, so it’s on McGregor’s shoulders to win the rematch and his respect back. He’s only gone the distance in one UFC bout, a unanimous decision nod over a green Max Holloway at August 2013’s UFC Fight Night 26 from Boston.
Taking a fighter like Diaz, who’s long been known for his cardiovascular endurance as a triathlete, would be a feat in and of itself. Are you buying Kavanagh’s prediction that McGregor will survive late to finish the resilient veteran in Diaz?