There will have been plenty of people jumping out of their seats cheering when Nate Diaz forced Conor McGregor to submit in the main event at UFC 196 – and they had a good reason to.
By Dom Bury @Domb18
In the lead up to the fight, Conor McGregor had been dismissive of every tool that Nate Diaz had in his arsenal and repeatedly claimed that Diaz was a gazelle, compared to the lion that is McGregor. Conor had been so sure of himself winning, even the most ardent Diaz fans had cast a little doubt as to whether the ‘Stockton Ninja’ could do it.
But, when everything and everyone is against you, Nate Diaz is the sort of character that you’d want in your corner and he showed some real grit to weather the storm early on from McGregor. As the fight progressed, Diaz wore McGregor down and the ‘Stockton Slaps’ began to take their toll on the Irishman. Eventually, Diaz did what he does when the fight hits the floor, and landed a text book rear-naked choke on McGregor.
Cue wild celebration and endless memes of Conor tapping doing the rounds on social media.
However, it would be a foolish person that writes off McGregor following this performance. He’s still the champion of the featherweight division and has blasted everyone in front of him at 145lbs. He also proved in his Cage Warriors run that he can hang at 155lbs. That jump to 170lbs however, has proved to be just one step too far for the Irishman.
MMA fans are a fickle breed and no doubt this loss will see Diaz and McGregor swap roles in their opinions, but McGregor still has plenty of time to secure his legacy at featherweight or lightweight. He’s a game fighter, which, on this occasion, has proven to be his downfall. But in MMA the best fighters always lose, it’s how they recover that makes them great and there’s plenty of room for McGregor to show the world just how good he is.
Watch out Jose Aldo, now he’s got a point to prove.