The first meeting between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz since their UFC 196 war went about as expected.
They both showed up late, McGregor dominated the conversation and then they had an intense staredown to finish the festivities.
Tickets go on sale July 15 for what is trending to be the biggest fight in UFC history -- UFC 202 in Las Vegas, at the brand new T-Mobile Arena. McGregor expressed his excitement as he checked out the new Vegas digs ahead of what he’s hoping to be a much different result against Diaz.
“The last contest was a great fight,” McGregor said. “I have my reasons I feel why the fight went the way it went. And now I have an opportunity to prove what I’m saying – like I’ve proved many times before – that what I say is correct. I look forward to Aug. 20 where I will come in correct, prepared, sharp and I will take this man out.”
Diaz didn’t have to say much. After all, he won the first meeting in dramatic fashion after withstanding the striking onslaught of McGregor early before turning the tide in the second round. The image of Diaz choking out McGregor is one that will live in infamy for many years to come.
Asked what he’s going to do different this time, Diaz said not much.
“It should be better if I can prepare for a fight,” Diaz said. “I got my team who is a strong team like always. I’m gonna bring in, to spar, some other people.”
Many wondered why McGregor, the UFC’s featherweight champion, chose to fight Diaz again at 170 pounds. “Notorious” explained that he simply thinks it fair to not change the parameters in his attempt to prove the loss was an aberration.
To accomplish his mission, McGregor has only been sparring 6-foot and taller partners this camp – most of whom have been three or four weight classes above his championship division.
“I’m sparring middleweights for this contest so I’ll feel that extra weight,” McGregor said. “I’ll understand that I must piece the shots together well. I feel they may think that I’m going to come in and tip tap and run, hit and run. I’m going to go in and do what I always do – press forward and have that man backed up, similar to the way I had him backed up in the last fight. And I’m going to tee off on him.”
Diaz thinks what McGregor is doing – taking training more seriously and putting some thought into it – is wise. The Stockton native expects an even better McGregor at UFC 202.
“I’m training to fight him,” Diaz said. “I expect him to be prepared and ready to rock and roll.”
Matt Parrino is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MattParrinoUFC