08 Mar 3 Lessons We Learned From The McGregor vs Diaz Fight
As much as Nate Diaz says he’s not surprised, must of us are.
Two days after UFC 196 took place in Las Vegas, the world is still reeling, gushing over Diaz’ emphatic second-round submission win over Conor McGregor. Many are not giving Nate much of a chance, not without a training camp and 11 days of notice.
But in the end, the Stockton bad boy pulled it off, made himself so much money that Dana White jokingly said we may never see him again. (But I highly doubt it comes close to Conor’s $10 million rake in the losing effort.) If that’s the case, however, we should simply thank Diaz and McGregor for leaving us these three lessons after their fight.
Lesson #1: Stand Up To The Bully
Call it hyping up the fight, promoting the fight, or whatever, Conor McGregor is a bully. Period. No one is better at him in this mind games and he habitually wins battles off the Octagon as much as in it.
Look at Jose Aldo. Dustin Poirier. Denis Siver. But nope, not this time around.
Chael Sonnen, who definitely knows a thing or two about mental bullying, describes it this way:
“From a historical standpoint — mentally — Conor McGregor fell apart. He cracked. It was just like watching Mike Tyson fold against Evander Holyfield and all the guys that have come before and after. Listen, when you stand up to a bully he will fade every time. Conor McGregor is a bully. Now, that’s the mental side.”
McGregor’s blazing start that opened a cut above Diaz’ right eyebrow was impressive but not enough to overcome the mental predicament Sonnen was mentioning. Eventually, physical exhaustion caught up with the mental fatigue and by then, it was over. In Conor’s words, he just straight up panicked.
That, my friends, is how you beat a bully, courtesy of Nate Diaz.
Lesson #2: This is exactly why they created weight classes.
Before McGregor could even dream of sniffing a welterweight belt, Diaz stops him dead on his tracks. He can talk all he want about moving up and down the weight ladder, it just could not happen. There’s a reason why no one has ever done it simultaneously.
After the UFC 196 results, McGregor should come to his senses, although unsurprisingly, he is still leaving the door on a return bout to 170 wide open.
“I am not forgetting about the 155-pound division,” McGregor said. “I am certainly not forgetting about the 170-pound division.”
I don’t know about that but if he is concerned about his health, fighting at lightweight and welterweight may not be in his best interests. Diaz himself tested the welterweight waters for some time but ultimately decided to stay at 155 because the guys at 170 were too strong!
But until those heavyweight checks keep coming in, “The Notorious” will probably still do it a couple more times until somebody shuts him up for good.
Lesson #3: Nate is the BETTER boxer
Conor may be the more creative striker, but when it comes to straight-up, good ol’ fashioned pugilism, Nate is superior in a severely underrated way. I mean, casual fans just see a slow-footed prodding guy who throws and flicks, but his understanding of angles and ability to take shots is second to none.
OK, so you’re not taking my word for it, how about Andre Ward’s? Yes, the undefeated middleweight boxing champ Andre Ward who is No. 1 or 2 in most pound-for-pound rankings.
Bloody Elbow’s Connor Ruebusch said of Nate’s tactical boxing sense and ability to take a punch:
But there was also Nate Diaz, and his skill. Nate is not Nick, and never has been. Where Nick Diaz is known for his take-one-to-give one attitude, relentless forward pressure, and combination punching, Nate Diaz is a boxer in the classical sense. The cornerstone of his style is the jab, off of which every other attack is built. His feet are slow like those of a big man, not like the twinkle-toes of McGregor, but he moves them with careful precision.
And then there is the subtle art of taking a punch.
1. McGregor and Diaz square of at range.
2. Diaz tries to hand-fight but McGregor slides a jab under his left arm.
3. Diaz pulls back as the jab extends, but leaves himself open to an incoming overhand left.
4. As Conor’s left connects, Diaz moves with the punch, pulling back and absorbing the shock with his legs, all while looking to counter with a wide right hook.
5. His hook misses the mark, but Diaz keeps his eyes on McGregor and looks to adjust.
6. As McGregor tries to follow up with a left, Diaz is already moving, shelling up and smothering him to avoid further punishment.
7. A quick pivot brings Diaz around to the left, away from McGregor’s left hand.
Boxing is about hitting without getting hit and while Nate didn’t exactly do that against McGregor, he did the next best thing: Absorb the impact of those punches while getting warmed up on his own. And as soon as he got the range, that was it. It was over.
Let’s not even talk about them ground skills.
Photo via: newsflow24.com
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