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Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz: Reliving one of the most storied rivalries in UFC history

UFC 196: McGregor v Diaz
UFC 196: McGregor v Diaz
ANALYST
Modified 31 Mar 2021
Feature

One of the most popular UFC stars will return to the Octagon when Nate Diaz squares off against Leon Edwards in the co-main event of UFC 262.

Nate Diaz gained notoriety for his classic battles against Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone, Jim Miller and Takanori Gomi early in his career. Perhaps Diaz's biggest and bitterest rival of all time is none other than Irish megastar Conor McGregor.

Before Nate Diaz makes his long-awaited comeback, relive the feud that elevated his career to the stratosphere. Let's take a quick look back at the storied rivalry between Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor.

Nate Diaz steps in for Rafael dos Anjos

UFC 244 Masvidal v Diaz
UFC 244 Masvidal v Diaz

It all started with a broken foot. Originally, then-UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor was scheduled to face Rafael dos Anjos in March 2016. However, the Brazilian had to pull out of the fight when he suffered a foot injury.

Unintentionally, the UFC created a more exciting fight when fan-favorite Nate Diaz was announced as dos Anjos's replacement. Due to the weight differential between the two men, McGregor was forced to come up to 170 pounds - a significant step up from the 145-pound limit he usually fought at at the time.

Nate Diaz stops Conor McGregor in his tracks

UFC 196: McGregor v Diaz
UFC 196: McGregor v Diaz
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Early on, McGregor was able to push the pace as he took on the role of aggressor. He fired shots at Nate Diaz and even busted out a couple of fancy spinning kick maneuvers.

Momentum shifted late in round two when McGregor started showing signs of slowing down. Nate Diaz capitalized on the opening and came forward, successfully landing combinations.

Diaz stung McGregor with a one-two that sent the Irishman reeling. Surprisingly, McGregor shot for a takedown but Diaz - the more accomplished grappler between the two - successfully defended and caught his opponent in a rear-naked choke.

Just like that, Nate Diaz stunned the world by tapping out the UFC's biggest star in Conor McGregor.

Conor McGregor avenges his loss to Nate Diaz

The sequel to this rivalry is more straight forward. McGregor was able to get back at Diaz by earning a majority decision win.

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The second time around, McGregor was noticeably more cautious in his approach. He continued to push forward to land his strikes but was respectful enough of Diaz's power to remain patient.

Nate Diaz was ultimately denied a repeat performance as Conor McGregor outscored him for five rounds.

Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz trilogy?

There have been rumblings about a third fight between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz in the past. However, negotiations between the two camps and the UFC have seemingly failed to gain traction as a trilogy fight is yet to be booked.

Fortunately, it isn't too late to make the fight happen. If Nate Diaz triumphs against Leon Edwards, it only makes sense for him to fight McGregor again sooner or later.

Published 31 Mar 2021, 16:41 IST
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