'I'm not surprised...'- That one Nate Diaz performance which shook the entire world
- Four years ago, Nate Diaz tapped out Conor McGregor and handed him his first loss in the UFC. The rest, as they say, is history.
When you think of it, isn't it pretty shocking that it's already been four years since Nate Diaz tapped out Conor McGregor and handed the Irishman his first defeat inside the Octagon?
At UFC 196, then-reigning UFC Featherweight Champion McGregor was on course to fulfill his destiny of becoming the first fighter in the Ultimate Fighting Championship to hold two world titles across two weight divisions.
Heading into the event, McGregor was set to step into the Octagon against Rafael dos Anjos, whom 'The Notorious One' labeled as a "slower version of Aldo" (If you didn't know why already!), however, a month prior to the event, the Brazilian eventually pulled out of the card due to a broken foot.
With McGregor's Lightweight Title chase being put on hold, the UFC was desperately looking for a fighter to step in as a replacement for dos Anjos and with both Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar rejecting the bout due to a lack of time to prepare, in stepped the one and only, Nate Diaz!
Now, if you'd remember correctly, on December 19, 2015, Diaz made his return to the Octagon after sitting out for almost a year and ran through Michael Johnson in a fight where he displayed his boxing talents.
However, it was after the win, Diaz decided to shake things up when he called out Conor McGregor for the very first time in one of the most iconic post-fight interviews of all time. Stepping in on 11-days notice for UFC 196, by this point, it was pretty obvious that Diaz wouldn't miss out on a fight against McGregor for the world, as he definitely had a point to prove.
And as 'The Stockton Slugger' had only over a week to cut weight, the bout eventually took place at Welterweight.
On 5th March 2018, the world was set for a collision of two icons of the mixed martial arts game. Two men with a similar killer instinct and a similar nature. From trading insults at each other to almost breaking into a brawl at the weigh-ins, the world was finally set for a historic showdown.
Diaz came into the fight as the likely underdog and with McGregor having knocked-out Jose Aldo within 13 seconds in his last Octagon outing, fans pretty much expected 'The Notorious One' to wipe the floor with the Stockton native, who mind you, took the fight on 11-days notice.
As expected, McGregor had started off the bout in dominant fashion and definitely tested Diaz's limits, hitting him with lefts and rights that eventually led to the latter being cut wide open within the first 5. As we closed out on an intense first-round, it was safe to say that the majority had McGregor winning but as the fight progressed, signs of 'The Notorious One' gassing out were clear.
Diaz had finally found himself an opening and 'The West Coast Gangster' realized that this was his moment of capitalizing on McGregor, who was in unfamiliar territory at 170.
Diaz took his time but finally started to unload the heavy lefts and rights and also caught the Irishman with various combinations. It was clear that McGregor was struggling to keep up and the Featherweight champ's bold attempt to take the fight to the ground eventually turned out to be his biggest mistake.
Now, Diaz may not be known for his ground game but one certainly cannot count him out on the mat, as it was just a matter of seconds before he transitioned from what seemed like an initial Guillotine to a Rear-Naked Choke to which McGregor tapped out almost immediately.
And, this was the one tap-out that shook the entire world and the MMA community. Nate Diaz had defeated Conor McGregor and handed the latter his first loss in the UFC. The younger Diaz brother had made history and once again, he had another iconic post-fight interview in store for the fans that tuned in for a historic night of action in the UFC.
This was truly the beginning of an iconic rivalry and from here onwards, we can only hope that both Diaz and McGregor come to terms for a highly-awaited trilogy fight between the pair.Published 06 Mar 2020, 03:28 IST